35 percent of Syrian children in Turkey unable to attend school: report

A recent report by the Turkish Ministry of Education has revealed that 35 percent of Syrian refugee children living in Turkey were not attending school as of January 2022, Deutsche Welle Turkish service (DW) reported.

According to the report, there were 1,124,353 school-age Syrian children in Turkey, and only two-thirds of those children were able to attend school. The percentage of girls with access to education was slightly lower than that of boys, at 49.33 percent and 50.77 percent, respectively.

Access to education was higher in primary education, while it dropped by half in secondary education. The report said the percentage of Syrian children dropped even further in pre-school.

The report included several reasons why Syrian children did not have sufficient access to education but refrained from criticizing the Ministry of Education, instead pointing to the families.

Many children had to drop out of school to find work to support their families. Some families were late in registering their children at school, while others could not speak Turkish.

Kayıhan Nedim Kesbiç, a researcher for the Education Reform Initiative (ERG), said financial problems were the biggest reason students dropped out of school, especially at the secondary level. “A big proportion of Syrian students start working around the age of 15,” he said. “This is especially the case with boys.”

Kesbiç said Syrian children felt excluded in schools, which also impacted their drop-out rates. “Schools need to be reformed so they are more accepting of Syrians, who often cannot speak Turkish and feel socially alienated,” he added.

He pointed out that teachers and school administrators treated Syrians as poor and needy people; however, Syrian children need good role models to inspire them to realize their potential and continue their education.

According to multeciler.org, there were 3,684,412 Syrians, of which 1,746,253 are aged between 0 and 18, under temporary protection in Turkey as of June.

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