The Ministry of National Education lifted a key requirement for Syrian refugees and Syrians under the status of temporary protection to help their integration. Refugees applying for vocational training courses will no longer be required to produce a document certifying their Turkish language skills. Thus, the language barrier, one of the key complaints of refugees seeking to continue their lives in Turkey, was eliminated. Authorities seek to increase the rate of Syrian students enrolled in vocational training courses to at least 10% from 2% with the new regulation.
The ministry was looking for options to boost the inclusion of Syrians in the workforce which had been hindered by the requirement of A2 (basic) level Turkish for vocational training classes. Turkish language skills are still required in the courses but refugees can now turn in the certificate a year after the start of training. Also, applicants with a language certificate will not be required to take Turkish classes again during the course of vocational training.
Deputy Minister of National Education Mahmut Özer said in a statement that Turkey hosts the largest number of Syrian refugees and the ministry is working to boost the schooling rate among Syrian children. “We are working to improve it for all grades. The number of Syrian students attending schools already exceed the number of students in European countries. In the past three years, we focused on vocational, technical training for their better social and economic integration and coordinated international projects in this field,” Özer said.
Vocational training centers in 81 provinces of the country offer one-day training after which the students are given hands-on training on-site and in workplaces based on their chosen field. Centers encourage the gradual acquisition of lifelong skills through which students can rise from being apprentices to masters in different occupations. During the four years of training, students are also provided a stipend amounting to one-third of the minimum wage. Applicants are only required to have graduated middle school and there is no age limit for applications.
“These places offer an important opportunity to Syrians outside the regular schooling age and in need of inclusion in the workforce,” Özer said, noting that the centers are serving 3,000 Syrians currently.