Education for Syrian refugees and host communities

Project description

Title: Education programme for Syrian refugees and host communities (BilSy)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Turkey
Lead executing agency: Vice President’s Office
Overall term: 2016 to 2019

Team building activity facilitated by volunteers during the youth summit held on 10 April 2018 in Gaziantep, Turkey


Turkey has taken in more than 3.6 million Syrian refugees as well as people from other countries in the region – such as Iraq and Afghanistan – who are also seeking protection. According to the UN Refugee Agency, Turkey therefore has more refugees than any other country in the world. The border provinces of Sanliurfa, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kilis and Mardin and the cities of Ankara and Istanbul are among the communities with the highest proportion of refugees. Over half of the Syrian refugees in Turkey are children and young people, and around 40 per cent of them do not take part in any regular schooling.

The high number of refugees is placing huge demands on public institutions, including in the field of education. In many schools, structural measures are required to provide the additional pupils with a suitable learning environment. Furthermore, Turkish and Syrian teachers need to acquire the necessary skills to promote integration within the school setting. To date, Turkish and Syrian children and young people have been living in parallel worlds. The lack of opportunities for interaction and shared activities is a source of potential conflict.


Syrian and Turkish children and young people benefit from improved access to education and activities that foster social cohesion.

Team building activity facility by volunteers during the youth summit April,10 2018 in Gaziantep, Turkey


The project builds on the pilot programme entitled Supporting Syrian Refugees and Turkish Host Communities – Educational Programme, which was completed in February 2017. The project objective will be achieved in three fields of activity:

  • Promoting formal education. In collaboration with the Turkish Ministry of National Education (MoNE), the project is strengthening the capacities of existing educational institutions so that many children and young people in the worst affected provinces of Gaziantep, Hatay, Kilis and Sanliurfa will have access to formal education in the near future. Public schools are being rehabilitated. The project is also helping to transport Syrian children and young people to and from school and provides teaching materials for staff and pupils.
  • Improving the quality of formal and non-formal education. The project trains teachers and strengthens their intercultural and integration skills so that they can help Syrian child refugees to integrate more successfully into the Turkish school system.
  • Promoting activities that strengthen social cohesion. The project implements measures in Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Hatay, Mardin, Ankara and Istanbul to help Syrian refugees and members of the host communities to live well together in a spirit of trust. Young Turkish and Syrian people are trained by local and international social workers to act as multipliers and are given the resources they need to organise social, cultural and sporting activities for Syrian and Turkish children and young people. This training allows young people and staff to take an active part in local community life and to become involved in shaping processes. The German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) acts as a partner for implementing sporting activities and the project collaborates closely with the Goethe-Institut in the area of cultural activities. The most important local partner, besides the municipalities, is the local non-governmental organisation Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants (SGDD-ASAM), which specialises in supporting refugees and asylum seekers in Turkey.


During the 2017/2018 school year, the project renovated many schools and education centres, including five temporary education centres in the province of Sanliurfa, 22 public schools in the provinces of Hatay, Gaziantep, Kilis and Sanliurfa, and a temporary education centre and three youth and community centres in the city of Gaziantep. 31,514 children and young people (50 per cent of whom are girls and young women) are currently benefiting from the improved school infrastructure. By the end of September 2018, 45,547 Syrian and Turkish children and young people (around 49 per cent of whom were girls and young women) had taken part in the additional intercultural exchanges and leisure activities provided.

By the end of October 2018, 570 teachers of mixed classes of Syrian and Turkish children had taken part in five-day seminars on intercultural skills. 98 per cent of the teachers trained to date have confirmed that their ability to teach mixed classes of Syrian and Turkish children has either improved or improved significantly.

In the first year of the project, improved school transport has made it easier for Syrian children to attend school and summer schools, providing 4,638 children with access to education.

Additional information