A prominent academic heading a migration studies center at Turkey's Hacettepe University said Europe is home to a large number of well-educated Syrian migrants, while those with less education are hosted by Turkey. Associate Professor Murat Erdoğan's remarks come at a time of criticism of Europe for the perceived preferential granting of asylum to qualified migrants, while ignoring the plight of others escaping the conflict in Syria.
Erdoğan, an expert on migration, was speaking at a parliamentary committee on refugees' rights on Thursday when he made the remarks to lawmakers. He said an official study showed that the rate of university graduates among Syrian migrants in Germany has been 70 percent, and illiterate migrants only comprised 5 percent of the total migrants claiming asylum in the country. "In Turkey, the rate of illiteracy among migrants is 50 percent, according to research. Turkey only hosts 40,000 Syrians who are university graduates," he told the committee. Turkey hosts more than 2.5 million Syrians who fled the threat of attacks by regime forces of Bashar Assad as they clashed with rebels, Russian airstrikes and the takeover of several towns by the DAESH terrorist organization. Erdoğan said the number of Syrian refugees may climb to 4 million in the next decade, and the lack of education may cause future problems. He stressed that the importance of educating Syrian children who would be "unemployed, alienated and aggressive in the future if they are deprived of education."
He said surveys showed only 2 percent of Syrian migrants in Turkey are registered as "people with professions," while others' professions are not even known.
Education remains a key way to help displaced Syrians whose lives have been shattered by the ongoing conflict in their country. As such, Turkey is preparing to allocate 1 billion euros it hopes to receive from the European Union to educate Syrian children, a senior bureaucrat recently announced.
Children are among the most vulnerable and most numerous of the refugees, as the civil war disrupts their education. Though Turkey struggles to offer education in refugee camps, access to education for those living outside the camps is limited to private schools run by charities. With the new aid expected from the EU, Turkey will reach out to more school-aged Syrians.
National Education Ministry officials say half of the Syrian children registered with authorities have access to education, and Turkey plans to enroll at least 450,000 children in school by 2017.
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