The European Commission has approved a new assistance package of €400 million for the education of Syrian refugees in Turkey.
The action to approve the aid is the first following the decision by EU Member States on how to finance the second trance of €3 billion for the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey (under which the main focus areas are humanitarian assistance, education, migration management, health, municipal infrastructure and socio-economic support). According to information released in July 2018, the education sector has received approximately 28% of the available funding. So far this means that:
– 500,000 children have access to education;
– 312,000 children have received language training;
– 175 schools will be constructed;
– Almost 45,000 students benefit from other forms of training; and
– Over 32,000 children benefit from school transportation.
The funding will be transferred directly to the Turkish Ministry of National Education and will be used to continue the work of the current education project (which expires in October 2018). Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations said: “With the endorsement of the second tranche of funding by EU Member States, we are continuing to deliver on our commitment to support Syrian refugees and host communities in Turkey.”
The European Commission has stated that the aid package is intended to assist with outreach, improving the quality of education and the examination system, Turkish language training in Public Education Centres and social cohesion activities. It is more comprehensive in scope in comparison with the current education project and covers three academic years instead of two.
The package aims to ensure sustainability, enabling the activities to continue after the end of the funding from the EU. For example, the European Commission has stated that the number of contracted teachers should reduce incrementally as Syrian students become integrated into public schools and teachers from the Turkish Ministry can take over.
Turkey currently hosts 3.5 million Syrian refugees (more than any other country) at a cost of nearly €30 billion. Aid packages such as these, with a focus on requirements such as sustainable education, are imperative to mitigating the ongoing crisis and assisting Turkey with the challenge of offering the necessary aid and support to refugees forced to flee their homes in danger of their lives.