HIGH LEVEL PANEL DISCUSSION ON “QUALITY EDUCATION FOR REFUGEES AND IDPs”

Naci KORU 28.03.2018
- Firstly, I would like to extend my sincere welcome and best regards to Her Highness Sheika Moza bint Nasser. I would also like to thank my colleague Ambassador Al-Mansouri and High Commissioner Grandi for organizing this high-level panel on an issue which my country attaches great importance.

- Allow me to give a brief outline of the situation in Turkey and elaborate on our policies in the area of education.

- Today, Turkey hosts over 4 million people that had to flee from war, violence and desperate conditions in their homelands. The number of Syrians in Turkey exceeded 3,5 million.

- Acting merely in line with humanitarian considerations, we believe that Turkey’s policy towards Syrians sets an example for the whole world.

- Turkey has mobilized all her resources to provide proper living conditions through an approach that fosters human dignity of Syrians. Among our efforts, we attach utmost priority to education with a view to avoid “lost generations”.

- For us, education of Syrian children is of crucial importance as they will be the ones to rebuild their country.

- As of October 2017, there are approximately 976.000 school-age Syrian children in Turkey and around 620.000 of them can attend school.

- We managed to increase the schooling ratio to 65% in the 2017-2018 school year as a result of an aggressive campaign that has been launched to bring children back to school. Our aim is to reach 100 %.

- More than 170 thousand Syrians have participated in Turkish language courses and around 300 thousand Syrians attended the technical and vocational training provided by Turkish authorities. Diversification of vocational and technical training is needed particularly to increase school enrolment of girls.

- Around 20 thousand Syrians pursue higher education in Turkey. Offering additional scholarship opportunities will be an asset for the future of these people.

- In addition to allowing free access to education and providing schoolbooks free of charge, conditional educational support is granted to poor families in order for their children to continue their education.

- For this, the social assistance initiative, titled “Conditional Cash Transfer for Education (CCTE)” has been developed for vulnerable refugee children.

- According to CCTE, which is implemented by the Ministry of Family and Social Policies in cooperation with UNICEF and other partners, vulnerable foreigners residing in Turkey, who are assessed as eligible, can benefit from the CCTE support every month.

- This initiative encourages families to send their kids to schools regularly.

- To date, Turkey has spent almost 30 billion US Dollars (including municipalities and Turkish NGOs) in order to meet the needs in the areas of education, health, livelihoods, infrastructure and many other. Whereas the total contribution we received from the international community stood far from meeting expectations (excluding EU’s financial assistance, which is 908 million Euro, on a bilateral basis).

- As is the case for many other major refugee hosting countries, our means and capabilities are not endless. The Syrian humanitarian crisis is a global phenomenon and neighboring countries cannot be left alone to bear the brunt of this crisis.

- In spite of intensive efforts, the establishment of new schools, around 70 thousand additional classrooms and employment of new teachers are urgently needed to enable all of the Syrian children to access education.

- Equitable and meaningful burden and responsibility sharing is necessary. Providing financial as well as technical assistance to the host countries, while expanding resettlement and complementary pathways including scholarships should be the encouraged to this end.

Thank you

Atatürk

Sadık Arslan Ambassador

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