13 November 2015

Human Rights Watch released a report this week on the obstacles refugee children in Turkey face trying to access education. Although over 700,000 Syrian refugees living in Tukey are school-age children, during the last school year just over 200,000 were enrolled in formal education at primary and secondary levels.

Even though Turkey issued a policy that would allow all registered Syrian refugees to access the public school system, a number of practical obstacles remain which makes it extremely hard for children to attend school. For example, schools do not offer any language support for non-native Turkish speakers. Lack of information on enrolling procedures and social integration difficulties are other obstacles faced by Syrian children.

Moreover, as Syrian refugees are not allowed to work legally in Turkey, many children have to work in the informal market to help provide for their families and avoid destitution, as their  parents wages are insufficient. “Failing to provide Syrian children with education puts an entire generation at risk. With no real hope for a better future, desperate Syrian refugees may end up putting their lives on the line to return to Syria or take dangerous journeys to Europe.”

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This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 13 November 2015. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.