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EU and Turkish Ministry of National Education launch €300 million project to improve Syrian children's access to education

EU and Turkish Ministry of National Education launch €300 million project to improve Syrian children's access to education

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 16:44

Today the EU launched together with the Turkish Ministry of National Education (MoNE) a project to promote the integration of Syrian children into the Turkish national education system. With a direct grant to MoNE worth €300 million, this is the biggest direct support to Turkish institutions in the education sector to date. The opening ceremony was attended by more than 200 participants, among them AFAD President Mehmet GÜLLÜOĞLU, MoNE Undersecretary Prof. Dr. Yusuf TEKIN, MoNE Deputy Undersecretary Ercan DEMIRCI, and Head of the EU Delegation to Turkey Ambassador Christian BERGER.


With the project ‘Promoting Integration of Syrian Children into the Turkish Education System’ (PICTES), the EU is supporting Turkey in its efforts to ensure that all Syrian children can have access to education, and learn effectively together with Turkish children in public schools. It is the first time in the history of EU-Turkey relations that an education project of this size is jointly rolled out in the country through a direct grant.

The project, part of the €3 billion Facility for Refugees in Turkey, focuses on those 23 provinces of Turkey with the highest concentration of Syrian population. As knowledge of Turkish is essential for successful integration, the main project activity is to train and employ around 5,600 Turkish language teachers. 390,000 Syrian children will learn Turkish, so that they can join Turkish children in public schools. 30,000 children who have been out of school for an extended period, or who need extra support, will be provided with catch-up and back-up training. Other project activities include school guidance and counselling services for children who have experienced trauma, as well as support to overcome cultural and social barriers.

The Head of the EU Delegation to Turkey Ambassador Christian Berger said on the occasion:

"The EU certainly shares the aspirations of Turkish and Syrian parents to build a better future for all of our children through good quality education in good quality facilities. We hope that our contributions through the Facility for Refugees in Turkey and the project that we are launching today bring us one step closer to this aspiration, which goes hand-in-hand with the hope of finding peace for Syria soon."



The Facility for Refugees in Turkey:

The European Union has been supporting Turkey in response to the refugee crisis since 2011. Initial support was in the form of Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO). Other EU financial instruments for medium and long-term support were added later, responding to the protracted nature of the crisis. In January 2016 this support was substantially scaled up with the entry into force of the Facility for Refugees in Turkey.

Through the Facility, €3 billion have been committed to assist both refugees and host communities in Turkey, by providing assistance in key areas such as education, health, infrastructure, socio-economic development and migration management. As of September 2017, 48 projects have been contracted worth more than €1.6 billion, and €838 million have been disbursed for ongoing activities.

This funding comes on top of around €350 million which had been already allocated for refugee support in Turkey since the beginning of the crisis, and on top of bilateral aid provided by EU Member States.


EU support to the Turkish national education system

In Turkey there are over 800,000 Syrian children of school age (5-17 years). Ensuring that they all can have access to good quality education is a priority to prevent a lost generation, and their enrolment into the Turkish education system is an opportunity to support overall integration efforts. School enrolment figures for this academic year are still awaited, but in the last academic year 487,776 Syrian children went to school, which was a significant increase over previous years.

The EU supports these efforts of the Ministry of National Education through the construction of schools and provision of operational support as in the case of the Direct Grant or initiatives with UNICEF, UNHCR, Kizilay and international NGOs such as DAAD and SPARK. All these efforts are complementary parts of over €650 million dedicated to education under the Facility for Refugees in Turkey.


For more information please contact:

Jochen Schmidt - Programme Manager for Education, Facility for Refugees in Turkey

jochen.schmidt@eeas.europa.eu / T +90 312 459 87 00

For press inquiries:

Miray Akdağ - Press Officer for the Delegation of the European Union in Turkey

M +90 532 624 93 56 / T +90 312 459 88 77