Turkey surpasses others in schooling rate for refugee children


With its efforts to educate Syrian refugees, Turkey now stands well ahead in the schooling rate of refugee children of grade school age at 96.30 percent, far higher than the world average of 61 percent. Hailed for its humanitarian aid efforts to refugees, Turkey also sets an example in the world in the schooling of refugee children. Access to education for refugee children among more than 3.5 million refugees from that country is now higher than the average schooling rate of refugee children in other countries.

Ministry of National Education data shows that the schooling rate reached 96.3 percent among Iraqi refugee children as well as Syrian children who had to flee their war-torn homeland, Syria, to Turkey and forced to skip grade school. Figures by the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) shows this number is an average 61 percent in the world.

Apart from grade or primary school, the schooling rate is particularly high among children attending middle schools, at 58.13 percent. This number is 33.59 percent for those attending nursery schools and 26.38 percent for high school.

Turkey hosts 523,677 refugee children in public schools, including 55,419 Iraqi children. They are taught a Turkish curriculum. A sizeable number of refugee children also attend “temporary education centers” that serve as schools for refugee children only. The number of temporary education centers also dropped to 215 from 280. Turkey pursues a drive to enroll more refugee children in public schools rather than understaffed education centers that are temporary as their names imply. The country plans to shut all down by the end of the next school year. There were 250,000 students attending those centers in 2017 compared to 96,841 last year.

As for gender, the number for girls is 262,904, and for boys it is 269,773 for those attending public schools.

The figures are included in a report by the education nonprofit TEDMEM. The TEDMEM report on education of refugee children says that measures to prevent dropouts and boost accessibility are key to increasing schooling rates. It points to lower schooling rates among refugees at the age of 10 and above, adding that these children should be targeted for schooling in the future. The report cites financial challenges as the main reason for dropping out of school for those children. Education is free, but refugee children are sometimes forced to work at an early age to earn a living for their impoverished families.



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