Primary and secondary education
According to Turkish national law, all children in Türkiye, including foreigners (and international protection applicants, refugees and those under temporary protection) have the right to receive primary and secondary school education free of charge.
The Temporary Protection Regulation (22 October 2014) makes provisions for a wide range of educational services to be delivered to those under temporary protection, including early childhood education, schooling (Grades 1-12), higher education and non-formal education programmes
The Ministry of National Education (MoNE) is responsible for ensuring and managing refugees’ access to early childhood education, schools and non-formal education programmes (including Turkish language classes and skills development courses offered by Public Education Centres).
It is important for children to attend school, no matter how long you expect to stay in Türkiye! Even if you hope to be resettled to another country or to go back to your country, it is important that you and your family use the time in Türkiye to develop the skills that will help your children integrate socially and academically into a new education system. The longer your children are out of school, the more difficult this becomes.
In addition to the educational benefits, attending school will help your children heal from the effects of displacement. Having a regular routine (by going to school or language classes daily) provides children and youth with stability. Attending school also creates a focus on the future, rather than what happened in the past and the situations that led to you and your family seeking assistance in Türkiye.
Schools in Türkiye
Syrian children can enrol in Turkish schools. Temporary Education Centres (TECs) are closed as of 2018.
Enrollment in a Turkish school
- To request for enrollment in a Turkish school, parents must apply to the Provincial Directorate of National Education (or, for some provinces, the District Directorate of National Education).
- Enrollment is made in schools close to the residence. On e-okul platform, you can see the information of the kindergarten/primary and secondary school your child can be enrolled in.
The following documents are required to enroll in a Turkish school:
- A valid Foreigner’s Identity document starting with 99 issued by the Provincial Directorate of Migration Management,
- Residence record (obtained from the civil registry or mukhtar), (if there is no relevant information in the national database)
- Other documents that the school may request (equivalence certificate, Transcript, diploma, etc.)
If there is any record about your child’s previous education outside of Türkiye, these records should be shared with the Equivalency Centers in the Provincial/District Directorate of National Education. You can also submit the documents through . The Provincial Directorate of National Education will decide on the following: (i) the child’s previous educational background and abilities, as well as the class your child will be placed in, and (ii) the school your child will be enrolled in. If any documents on educational background could not be obtained due to war, disaster and/or asylum application processes;
- Children may need to take a placement exam for equivalency procedures.
- There is no placement exam for primary school students. Determination is made based on the declaration.
It is not necessary for the child to be able to speak Turkish before enrolling in school. If children cannot speak Turkish, they cannot be denied access to school.
Children can also attend Turkish language courses given by Public Education Centers to improve their language skills before enrolling in school or while they go to school. In addition, it might be possible to benefit from activities that are being implemented by PIKTES depending on your province. You can also get more information from school managers about harmonization classes.
If your child is between the ages of 10-18 and has not been to school for more than 3 years, your child can enroll in the Accelerated Learning Program implemented jointly by the MoNE and UNICEF. You can register to the Public Education Centers under the scope of the MoNE. After the Accelerated Learning Program is completed, it is possible to access to formal education.
Financial support for education (Kindergarten to Grade 12)
The Ministry of Family and Social Services (MoFSS), the Ministry of National Education (MoNE), Turkish Red Crescent (TRC) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are implementing a nationwide social assistance program called the ‘Conditional Cash Transfer for Education’ (CCTE) for Refugees. This is an extension of the national CCTE programme implemented by MoFSS since 2003 for Turkish citizens as well as foreigners residing in Türkiye. All refugees who are residing in off-camp settings, regardless of nationality, can benefit from this assistance (if they meet the eligibility criteria). The CCTE provides cash payments to eligible families conditional on regular school attendance of their children (from kindergarten to Grade 12).
Applicants for the CCTE must be registered with the Provincial Directorate of Migration Management and have a foreigner’s ID number beginning with the number 99, and be registered in the MERNIS database. Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria for the CCTE programme and send their children to school regularly in order to receive CCTE payments regularly.
Students enrolled in Turkish public schools can receive financial support through the CCTE.
More information on CCTE for refugees (including application procedures and eligibility criteria) is available in the CCTE brochure.
Syrian youth may apply to attend Turkish universities, provided that they satisfy the language and academic entry requirements of the universities that they apply to. The Council of Ministers announced that in the 2017-2018 academic year, Syrian students will not be charged tuition fees at state universities (not private universities); however, this exemption decision has been lifted as of the 2021/2022 academic year. Moreover, students will still need to cover the costs of local transportation, books and living expenses.
Syrian high school graduates wishing to enrol in a Turkish university should ensure that they have the following:
- Foreigner’s identification number issued by PDMM (99 number);
- Proof of having completed Grade 12;
- Results of the Foreign Students Examination (YOS) administered by the university in which you wish to enrol;
- Proof that you are proficient in the language of instruction of the course in which you will enrol.
Students who started their university studies in Syria, but were not able to complete them, may ask universities to recognize the credits (courses) that they have passed. The decision whether to recognize courses passed in Syria is made by each university and may differ from one department to another.
Financial support for higher education
There are a number of organizations providing scholarships to Syrian students for higher education study in Türkiye. These organizations include: YTB (the Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities), UNHCR – through the DAFI scholarship programme, and NGOs (e.g. SPARK).
Scholarships awarded through YTB, HOPES and DAFI cover the costs of tuition and pay students a monthly allowance for accommodation and living expenses. In addition to that, YTB implements the Higher Education Cash Grant for the students who are under temporary protection.
Scholarship and cash grant applications information is announced annually through organizations’ websites and social media pages.
Studying online in Türkiye
Syrian students can enrol in Anadolu University, Türkiye’s online and distance university. Degrees and diplomas awarded by Anadolu University are recognized in Türkiye and internationally.
A number of other institutions also offer online programmes (e.g. University of the People, Coursera). Many of these programmes are not recognized as official qualifications in Türkiye. These courses are useful in helping refresh knowledge and in helping students prepare for university. You can also benefit from YÖS preparation modules that are available. Additionally, it is also possible to follow online courses from YTB Academy These courses include informal learning opportunities on Turkish language, stress management, teamwork, cv preparations, etc.
Skills training and vocational education
Syrians may enrol in vocational schools operated by the Ministry of National Education. Enrolment procedures and requirements are the same as for other schools.
Skills training courses are also offered free of charge by Public Education Centres (Halk Eğitim Merkezi) and are certified by the Ministry of National Education. A valid foreigner’s identification number is required in order to register for these courses.
In certain provinces, some Public Education Centres have special programmes which provide skills training and vocational education. Please approach the Public Education Centres in your district or the Provincial Directorate of National Education in your province to obtain more information.
Turkish language learning
Learning Turkish is a basic survival skill while living in Türkiye. Learning Turkish will help make daily life and basic tasks easier (shopping, using public transport), help build friendships with others living in the same area, and help in emergencies (communicating with doctors or police).
Turkish classes are offered by Public Education Centres (Halk Eğitim Merkezi) free of charge. Please approach your local Public Education Centre to register for a class. UNHCR partners can also provide more information on language courses available in your city.
Anadolu University also offers free online Turkish courses at the beginner (A1) and elementary (A2) levels. They are available to anyone who wishes to learn Turkish. You can find out more about the ANA-DİL Turkish programme and register for a course on the ANA-DİL Turkish learning website of Anadolu University.
The Yunus Emre Institute (YEI) provides online Turkish courses from the beginner level (A1) to the advanced level (C1). As its courses have a flexible structure, the YEI’s ‘Distance Turkish Instruction Portal’ enables students to learn Turkish at their own pace, and wherever they might be. You can find more information and register for the programme on the Yunus Emre Institute website.