This background report accounts the evolution of Turkey’s national policy on the accommodation of Syrian refugees into its national education system from 2011 to present.Turkey’s experience merits attention not least because the country has been host to a record number of Syrian refugees, close to a million of which are school-age children, and as such the country assumes the difficult task of integrating thesechildren into education. Turkey’s humanitarian response has faced changes since the crisis in Syria first took off in 2011. As it became clear by the end of 2015 that Syrian refugees were not “temporary guests”, the Ministry of National Education declaredthat all Syrian children would be fully integrated into Turkish public schools who, until then, had been placed into temporary education centers to ensure that they couldcontinue their education in the period they spend in Turkey before going back to their own country. There has been a considerable increase in Syrian children’s schooling: The the number of enrolled students increased from 230,000 in 2014-15 to 608,000 in 2017-18. However, the percentage of children who do not go to school still remains high at close 40 percent. Most of the activities of the Turkish government in supporting the inclusion of Syrian children into the Turkish education system were carried out under the project “Promoting Integration of Syrian Children to the Turkish Education System” (PICTES), funded by the European Union’s €500 million grant. These activities took place in 23 provinces with the highest concentration of Syrian population, and included Turkish language courses, provision of educational materials and transportation services. The role of non-governmental organisations (NGO) in providing psychosocial support and education has also been noteworthy, although the Ministry’s regulations concerning NGO’s field work at schools became more restrictive in the last year.
Background paper prepared for the 2019 Global education monitoring report: Migration, displacement and education: building bridges, not walls