Turkey

Turkey schooling 483,000 refugee children says minister

Education Minister Ismet Yilmaz tells Anadolu Agency if children remain uneducated they will be 'open to additional risks'

13.02.2017
Turkey schooling 483,000 refugee children says minister File photo

ANKARA

Turkey has offered free education to 483,000 Syrian schoolchildren so far, the country’s education minister said on Monday.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency, Ismet Yilmaz said over half of the 850,000 Syrian refugee schoolchildren in the country were being educated in Turkey’s public school with local children.

“We want to provide national education not only to our own children but also to those who have taken refuge in my country and those who are not able to live in their own country. If a person is uneducated, he or she will be open to additional risks wherever they are,” Yilmaz said.

He said the authorities carried out intensive studies into the education of Syrian refugee students after Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim’s order last June to immediately complete an offer of free schooling.

Yilmaz said the curriculum had been scheduled with Arabic and Turkish teachers together because Turkey believed Syrian refugees would go back to their homeland after the war is over.

Refugee students have missed years of education due to the closure of schools in their home countries and prolonged traveling.

The European Union has contributed to Turkey for their education and pledged to send €300 million ($319 million).

“In a first step they have sent €90 million,” Yilmaz added, saying the ministry distributed books and hired new teachers with the funding.

Turkey hosts about three million Syrian refugees, more than any other country in the world. The country has spent around $25 billion on helping and sheltering refugees since the beginning of Syrian civil war in early 2011.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people are believed to have been killed and millions more displaced by the conflict.

Reporting by Yasemin Kalyoncu; Writing by Hatice Kesgin

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