The European Union is to fund a new programme through the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) that collaborates with Turkey for the education of Syrian refugees.
Turkey hosts more than 3.5 million refugees from war-torn Syria and education is a major concern for authorities as the majority of refugees are children.
The programme will reach more than 65,000 refugee children and adults without a formal education and 35,000 children will be offered basic literacy and Turkish language courses as well as an Accelerated Learning Programme. Seven years of the conflict created what experts call a "lost generation" of refugees forced to drop out of school and unable to resume their education due to poverty or difficulty in accessing education.
Of the 1.5 million child refugees from Syria who live in Turkey, more than 610,000 are enrolled in school and the Education Ministry strives to have the rest enrolled as well.
Christos Stylianides, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, says education is lifesaving for boys affected by crises. "It can restore their sense of normality and safety and is a crucial step toward rebuilding their lives," Stylianides says. "By investing in solutions for children who are still out of school, this programme is another example of the resolve of the EU and Turkey not to leave a single child behind."
Omar Abdi, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director, says non-formal education offers vulnerable children and adults a crucial second chance at learning. "UNICEF is grateful for the commitment of Turkey and the financial support of the European Union to this important programme, which will help many children and adolescents to fully realize their potential and integrate into society."
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