Turkey,Ministry of National Education (Turkey),Syria

Syrian parents in Turkey worry their kids are losing their culture

December 27, 2016
in Kids

CROPClass.jpg A Syrian class in Istanbul. Many of the students hadn't attending school for years. The first day of school can be exciting and scary at the same time, but at this school for Syrians in Istanbul, there’s a strong sense of scrambling as well. Teachers run around organizing textbooks as parents try to register their children, and kids cling to their mothers not wanting to let go. For 13-year-old Muhammad, who came to Turkey a year and a half ago, this is his first day at school in two years. “I love Arabic and math,” he says, “and soccer.” There are an estimated 934,000 Syrian children living outside of refugee camps in Turkey, displaced by the war back home. Only about a third of them are actually going to school. Like Muhammad, they’re enrolled in temporary education centers, run by the Turkish Ministry of Education and funded by UNICEF. Muhammad’s new teacher, Wafaa, hands out textbooks to her students. Wafaa, who used to teach English and Arabic back home in Damascus, asked that I not use her last name because her husband and son are still in Syria. She says she was imprisoned for seven months by the Syrian government, accused of being a political activist. After her release, Wafaa fled to Turkey with her two daughters and enrolled the younger one in a Turkish school. “She is in fourth grade,” Wafaa says, “and in a matter of a month and a half, she picked up the [Turkish] language.” Wafaa says...

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