Vocational schools to serve Syrian students

Published 13.08.2016 00:00

A new regulation announced by the Ministry of National Education paves the way for Syrian refugees to attend vocational high schools in Turkey. The country, which hosts nearly 3 million Syrians who fled the civil war, strives to address the needs of Syrians whose main concern is unemployment and to that extent, started granting work permits earlier this year to refugees.

Starting from the 2016-17 academic year, Syrian students can enroll in vocational high schools and education centers that specialize in training for several industrial jobs. Syrians able to speak Turkish will be required to sit a Turkish exam before application, while those with no command of the language will only be taught Turkish in their first semester in high school.

With the war in Syria reaching its fifth year, the Turkish government is striving to reach the so-called "lost generation" of refugees. Children make up a substantial portion of the refugee population that fled their devastated country for Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, and they are among the most vulnerable. Experts consider education as key to saving this "lost generation" from a bleak future, yet most refugees are forced to skip school, either compelled to earn a living for their families or due to difficulties in adapting to life in their new host countries.

The National Education Ministry has issued new regulations that make it easier for refugee children to access education, and all young refugees registered by authorities are eligible to attend school. The country offers Turkish classes and vocational training for Syrians of all ages in public education centers that host lifelong learning courses, ranging from handicrafts to computer literacy. A half-day course system in Turkish schools offers separate classes for refugee children who take afternoon classes taught by Syrian teachers. The classes are compatible with the Syrian academic curriculum.

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