An animated video is drawing attention to the importance of refugee children’s access to education in Turkey.
It can be very difficult for refugees to access some of the basic services they need. Access to education is one of the major challenges. As Support to Life, we are working to overcome these difficulties and to protect the right of every child to access education. With this animated video prepared by our project partner Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe (DKH), we would like to draw attention to the importance of refugee children’s access to education. The reason is the fact that physical access to education and school is the most important condition for supporting children’s well-being and developmental processes. And it is our primary responsibility to ensure that every child achieves their rights without discrimination.
In a very short time, the pandemic changed the way our societies are organized, which we have been accustomed to for years. Groups with disadvantages experienced this negative change much more sharply. Within the scope of our project financed by the EU Humanitarian Aid, we are on the field as the implementing partner of the international humanitarian organization DKH. During the pandemic, we have supported the refugees in need to overcome the difficulties they face in accessing rights and services; and we continue to do so.
According to official data, today Turkey hosts a refugee population of 4 million, and almost half of them are children. Forced labor of refugee children due to poverty is the most important problem preventing them from going to school. Procedural problems in getting included in the education system can also prevent children from accessing their right to education. Project manager in our Istanbul field, Serhat Akbal defines the most common problem encountered regarding access of refugee children to education as follows:
“The registration of refugee children or their families remains one of the main obstacles to children’s access to education. Refugee children who are born in Turkey but are unregistered, or refugees whose access to basic services is restricted because they live outside the city where they are registered are among the most common problems we encounter. In addition, we observe that deepening poverty breaks refugee children away from education.”
Measures taken within the scope of the pandemic also seriously affected children. Due to remote learning, children did not only have difficulties in accessing the right to education, but also their socialization opportunities were limited. Children who did not have access to communication tools, or who had to share these online tools with many family members were at risk of dropping out of school and starting to work. Our Support to Life teams organized awareness raising trainings and workshops regarding the importance of access to education. We also supported children’s right to education through collaborations with public institutions and case follow-up studies.
Today, 64.4% of Syrian children go to school in Turkey, but the number of Syrian children who are not enrolled in school is over 425 thousand. Moreover, this data only includes registered children with temporary protection ID. Our child protection specialist Özlem Gegez explains the difficulties in the schooling process of refugee children:
“There are additional barriers restricting refugee children’s access to education for example language barriers or accreditation. As shown in the video, it might not be clear which grade a refugee child should attend. We sometimes see 14-year-old children placed in classes that are not suitable for their age level, even though they completed secondary school in their home country. These children have to study once again the topics they are already familiar with, they cannot study in the same class with their peers and may even be exposed to peer bullying for this reason. They lose both time and their social circles. The school environment is very important for children’s well-being. We witnessed how important this is, especially during the pandemic.”
Çiğdem Güner | Support to Life Corporate Communication Expert