Education for Syrian Refugees: The New Global Issue Facing Teachers and Principals in Turkey


Aydin H. , Kaya Y.

EDUCATIONAL STUDIES-AESA, vol.55, no.1, pp.46-71, 2019 (Journal Indexed in ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 55 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/00131946.2018.1561454
  • Journal Name: EDUCATIONAL STUDIES-AESA
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.46-71
  • Yıldız Technical University Affiliated: Yes

Abstract

This study addresses the educational status and needs of Syrian school-age children at Turkish public schools and the perspectives of teachers and school principals who work with Syrian refugee students. Data was collected from an ongoing qualitative interpretive case study research project using semistructured interviews with teachers and principals who worked with Syrian refugees in 2 inner-city elementary schools in Istanbul, Turkey. The findings of this study indicate that state schools provide many Syrian children with access to education that addresses the needs and challenges associated with the refugee school-age children. For example, Syrian children are thought to have rights identical to Turkish children regarding access to a free education in the Turkish public school setting, and the government has allowed Syrian students to enroll in universities without examinations or without having to show proof that they had attended universities in Syria. However, language barriers with respect to speaking and understanding Turkish must be mitigated to integrate Syrian refugees into Turkish culture. The results of the study also indicate that Syrian students are in a constant state of depression and trauma due to war and migration. Because of language-related issues and limited access to everyday necessities, Syrian children are often in need of comprehensive psychological support. Thus, this study recommends that teachers and principals participate in professional training and development programs to be able to provide psychological support to students.