Nearly half a million Syrian refugee children are currently enrolled in schools across Turkey. But despite a more than 50 per cent increase in enrolment since last June, over 40 per cent of children of school-going age – or 380,000 child refugees – are still missing out on an education, UNICEF said Thursday.
“For the first time since the start of the Syrian crisis, there are more Syrian children in Turkey attending class than there are out of school,” said UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Justin Forsyth, speaking after a visit to UNICEF programmes in southern Turkey.
“Turkey should be commended for this huge achievement. But unless more resources are provided, there is still a very real risk of a ‘lost generation’ of Syrian children, deprived of the skills they will one day need to rebuild their country.”
Turkey is home to more than 1.2 million child refugees, making it the top child refugee hosting country in the world.
In partnership with the Government of Turkey, UNICEF is helping strengthen education systems, increase access to learning and improve the quality of inclusive education for Syrian and vulnerable Turkish children.
Since 2013, UNICEF has helped build, renovate or refurnish nearly 400 schools, and trained some 20,000 Syrian volunteer teachers. Approximately 13,000 teachers receive monthly incentives.
Efforts are also under way to include Syrian children in a national programme that grants cash allowances to vulnerable families for them to send, and keep, their children in school.
Across the region, a total of 2.7 million Syrian children are not in school – the bulk of them inside the war-torn country itself where millions of children remain in danger as the conflict nears its sixth-year mark.
Around 300,000 children are trapped in 15 areas that are under siege across Syria, and a further 2 million are in areas that are largely cut off from essential humanitarian aid as a result of fighting and restrictions to access. This includes 700,000 children in areas under ISIL control.