BURSA, Turkey

A secondary school in Turkey’s northwestern Bursa province has launched an integration program for Syrian migrants through a vocational and economic education project. 

The European Union’s socio-economic integration project through vocational and technical education began at a secondary school in Gorukle district. The project, which is also supported by the Education Ministry, focuses on economic and social integration of Syrian migrant youths and Turkish youths by improving their employability and qualifications.

As part of the project, both Syrian and Turkish youths will be able to access quality vocational and technical education and training.

Within the scope of the project, which includes 23 Syrian and 16 Turkish students, there are Child Development and Education, Beauty and Haircare Services and Food Technology classes.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, the school’s principal, Girne Agcihan Coskun, noted that the specific aim of the project is to increase access to inclusive vocational and technical education for disadvantaged individuals.

Coskun said the educational expenses of 17 Syrian and 12 Turkish students were covered last year.

“Through this project, we invited representatives from various sectors to our school, and they were surprised to see the workshops. With the protocols we established, our rate of preference increased a lot,” Coskun added.

The school’s deputy director and project coordinator, Oguz Sahin, said the German Development Bank is one of the partners of the project.

“The project’s cost is 59,000 euros (US$70,000). Last year, we spent 25,000 euros. The remaining money in the bank is audited every month. We plan to spend 34,000 euros for this year’s transactions,” Sahin said.

Amr Al-Ahmad, a 9th grade student at the vocational school who is receiving an education in Beauty and Haircare Services, praised the education he receives at the school.

Al-Ahmad said they learned the fine details of the profession and were also trained in human relations. He said he wants to work as a hairdresser.

Sana Sallouh, a 9th grade student studying Child Development and Education, said she also receives education in music and drama.

Turkey is home to the world’s largest refugee population, with over 3.6 million Syrian refugees.

Besides 33,000 university students, more than half a million Syrian children are enrolled in schools across Turkey, according to UNICEF. They are learning the Turkish language as well as other disciplines.

*Writing by Merve Aydogan in Ankara

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