EU, Turkish Ministry of National Education, AFAD and KfW celebrating the ground-breaking ceremony of 60 pre-fabricated schools
The EU, together with the Turkish Ministry of National Education (MoNE), AFAD and KfW have participated in the ground-breaking ceremony to launch the construction of 60 pre-fabricated schools in different locations in Turkey today. The ceremony was attended by more than 200 participants, including Osmaniye Provincial Director of Ministry of National Education Ramazan ÇELİK, Director of the Ankara office of the German Development Bank (KfW) Frank BELLON, MoNE Head of Department for Real Estate and Construction Özcan DUMAN, MoNE General Director of Lifelong Learning Ali Rıza ALTUNEL, Osmaniye Governor Ömer Faruk ÇOŞKUN, Osmaniye MP Suat ÖNAL and the Head of the EU Delegation to Turkey, Ambassador Christian BERGER.
The pre-fabricated schools are part of the €165 million projects on education infrastructure – "Education for All in Times of Crisis I and II" – aimed at facilitating the access of 41,400 Syrian and Turkish students to 1,380 new classrooms.
Overall, the EU has provided a total of €315 million support to Turkey in the field of education infrastructure, with the two projects mentioned above implemented by KfW and a complementary project implemented by the World Bank: "Education Infrastructure for Resilience". These are all part of the €3 billion Facility for Refugees in Turkey and the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis.
The projects are developed in close partnership with the Ministry of National Education, with the aim of ensuring that Syrian children under the age of 18 have access to education in Turkey, while also supporting the Turkish communities to successfully cope with the influx of refugees.
The Head of the EU Delegation to Turkey, Ambassador Christian Berger, said on the occasion:
"The Turkish Ministry of National Education and AFAD have responded to this increased need with commendable speed and commitment. Half a million Syrian children are now attending school here in Turkey. That is an incredible achievement, but there is still more to do. We are working hard with the Ministry - through our €300m direct grant with them under the Facility- to ensure that the estimated 370,000 children who are still out of school are able to enrol quickly. Half a million new entrants into the education system have inevitably placed a strain on the educational infrastructure, particularly in regions with large numbers of Syrian refugees. Two months ago we were in Ankara to launch the €315 million projects, including these 60 pre-fabricated schools. The projects launched today will see more than 150 new schools constructed in 17 provinces, enabling some 110,000 Syrian and Turkish students to complete their education in well-equipped facilities."
The Facility for Refugees in Turkey:
The European Union has been supporting Turkey in response to the refugee crisis since 2011. Initial support was in the form of Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO). Other EU financial instruments for medium and long-term support were added later, responding to the protracted nature of the crisis. In January 2016 this support was substantially scaled up with the entry into force of the Facility for Refugees in Turkey.
Through the Facility, €3 billion have been committed to assist both refugees and host communities in Turkey, by providing assistance in key areas such as education, health, infrastructure, socio-economic development and migration management. As of beginning of November 2017, the EU has allocated €2.9 billion of the €3 billion and contracts have been signed for 55 projects worth €1.78 billion out of which €908 million has been disbursed.
This funding comes on top of around €350 million which had been already allocated for refugee support in Turkey since the beginning of the crisis, and on top of bilateral aid provided by EU Member States.
EU support to the Turkish national education system
In Turkey, there are over 800,000 Syrian children of school age (5-17 years). Ensuring that they all can have access to good quality education is a priority to prevent a lost generation, and their enrolment into the Turkish education system is an opportunity to support overall integration efforts. School enrolment figures for this academic year are still awaited, but in the last academic year 487,776 Syrian children went to school, which was a significant increase over previous years.
The EU supports these efforts of the Ministry of National Education through the construction of schools and provision of operational support as in the case of the Direct Grant or initiatives with UNICEF, UNHCR, Kizilay and international NGOs such as DAAD and SPARK. All these efforts are complementary parts of over €650 million dedicated to education under the Facility for Refugees in Turkey.