Support for School Enrolment Programme (SSE)
The project in brief
The project is implemented by Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants (SGDD-ASAM) in Türkiye. It began in October 2019 and is currently ongoing until the end of 2024.
The SSE programme is a partnership between UNICEF and ASAM to support out-of-school refugee children in accessing a broad range of services which address barriers restricting their participation in relevant and appropriate education.
The main goals of the project include:
- To involve more refugee children in the education system.
- To include children with disabilities in the education system.
- To decrease the number of drop-outs from formal education.
- To increase the number of children in Early Childhood Education.
- To encourage the social-cohesion between the host and refugee communities’ children.
- To prevent lost-generation.
- To eliminate protection risks that children are faced in case of being out of school (Child labor; child, early and forced marriages; and human trafficking).
- To improve the self-resilience of children.
In Türkiye, including refugee children, between the ages of 5 and 17 can access free education. As a reflection of this, the free access of refugee children to educational opportunities provides a significant benefit in fulfilling the objectives of the project.
Moreover, in line with the national education laws, regulations, and policies, the Ministry of National Education (MoNE) on behalf of the Government of Türkiye regulates resources and enhances the diversity to facilitate the access by refugee children to formal education.
The children - at the age of legal work permit according to the national regulations - whose caregivers/parents cannot meet basic needs, are supported for future livelihood opportunities by including the children in Vocational Education Centers. It means while children learn a profession/job in schools, they can also receive compensation for their apprenticeships.
There are some incentives for caregivers/parents to promote enrolment and continuity to education such as the Conditional Cash Transfer for Education (CCTE), and the Project on Promoting Integration of Syrian Kids into the Turkish Education System.
The SSE Programme supports the caregivers/parents with protection interventions to access right to education, related services and information on education opportunities and service providers.
The possibility of issuing educational measures for children, the practice of the municipalities in supporting children's school attendance, and the support mechanisms of ministries like MoNE and Ministry of Family and Social Services (MoFSS) have all contributed to the implementation of the programme.
ASAM’s complementary programmes on child protection (in every sector) enables SSE Program to reach and follow up the childrens’ continuity in education.
Main activities of the Good Practice
Within the scope of the SSE Programme:
- Identifying and assessing the out-of-school refugee children.
- Providing counselling about refugee rights, their obligations, and the law.
- Providing information about the supporting mechanisms of ASAM.
- Providing non-education counselling to refugee caregivers/parents and children (e.g. education, protection, social, legal, support mechanism like Conditional Cash Transfers for Education (CCTE), Social and Economic Support (SED) etc.).
- Providing educational counselling to refugee families and children based on their educational status and age: share information regarding available education opportunities in their provinces (e.g. Formal & Non-Formal Education, Accelerated Learning Programme (ALP), Vocational Education and Training (VET), etc.).
- Referring the families and children to non-education responsible institutions related to their risk level and vulnerabilities to meet their basic needs.
- Referring the children to education-based institutions to be enrolled.
- Providing technical support during the enrolment process; accompanying the caregivers/parents to educational institutions during the enrolment procedure, and/or providing interpretation services.
- Following-up for absence monitoring and assessing risks of drop-out.
- Providing stationery kits.
- Strengthening the cooperation with local authorities and stakeholders to facilitate the registration process of the children to school.
- Mapping of educational centers which are visited.
“As long as I have education, I will be equipped for any dream in the future.” Fatma (15) says. “I dream of finishing school one day. That’s the only dream I have so far,” she adds.
What challenges were encountered in delivering the project and how were they overcome?
The SSE Team’s main challenge is the obstacles that children face in access, enrolment, continuity and success in education. Therefore, you may find the main barriers that refugee children face during access to educational opportunities, including:
- Overcrowding of classrooms / physical capacity / limited quota of schools.
- Distance of the schools and residences.
- Limited options of transportation.
- Lack of identity card or being registered in a different province in the Presidency of Migration Managements’ system; against the official rules of residence policy for refugees.
- School Admission Policies during registration procedures.
- Prejudices of refugee caregivers/parents & teachers.
- Language barrier/lack of communication.
- Financial problems.
- High mobility of refugees within the country.
- Social cohesion problems and concerns.
- Adaptation problems
- Peer-bullying, discrimination and xenophobia
- Social tension
- Child labour
- Lack of knowledge/ awareness of importance of education
- Language barrier
- Access Barriers and Continuity to Education for Students with Disabilities
- Difficulties and time-span in obtaining the disability report to be referred in Counselling and Research Centers (CRC-RAM).
- Limited number of schools suitable for students with disabilities.
- Distance of the schools and residences.
- Limited transportation options for persons with disabilities.
How they were overcome
- The teams are in contact with local authorities such as municipalities, governorship and Provincial & District National Education Directorate to find the solution for the above-mentioned physical capacity conditions, school admission policies, registration limitations, prejudices, adaptation problems lack of communication, and social cohesion interruption and peer bullying, and transportation limitations obstacles and issues of child labor.
- Liaising with individual decision makers while promoting the existing support mechanisms.
- Establishing an advocacy network according to the province and its challenges.
- Providing intensives and educational stationary kits to overcome the financial burden of the caregivers and parents.
- In order to overcome lack of knowledge of teachers, caregivers and children, awareness-raising training sessions in schools are organized for host and local communities to decrease the social tension, peer bullying and support the social cohesion and inclusivity.
- Organizing awareness raising session on universal and constitutional right to education and free education rights to empower the caregivers/parents to access rights and services.
- Internal referrals are regularly made to complementary services of ASAM such as Turkish language courses through ASAM multi-service centers by the trainers of Public Education Centers to overcome the language barrier.
Results of the Good Practice
- School enrolment helps children to be with peers, contributing to their development.
- Regular attendance allows identification developmental delays, internal/external referrals for suitable interventions.
- Turkish language lessons support self-reliance to overcome challenges and be independent to seek support.
- Assisting access to schools enables social cohesion according to the contact theory that is taken advantage of.
- Prevention of lost generation is supported to have a peaceful social cohesion, mobility in the society, increasing livelihood opportunities; decreasing risks of current/future vulnerabilities.
- Increases cross-sectoral, state and civil society collaboration for access to education, continuity and success in an encompassing definition of society.
“School is our only hope,” Hanin (12 years old) and Kerem (10 years old) say. The siblings continue their education in Turkey after fleeing from Syria with their mother.
In what way does the good practice meet one or more of the four objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees?
Objective 1: Ease the pressures on host countries
ASAM’s implementation of contact theory that supports social cohesion as a process, is supported by communication and living together while learning to communicate, coordinate, and cohabitate. Thus, the pressure is eased not only for the refugee communities to ‘integrate’ to the existing social codes and conducts but also present its own understanding of daily living enabling the host community to learn and adapt.
Objective 2: Enhance refugee self-reliance
The children are provided with pathways to access their rights and publicly provided services. This in itself, is teaching the host community legal regulations, individual fundamental and social rights and information on main services provers in order to access.
Additionally, the education in itself is designed to develop the children’s self-resilience and reliance as individuals who contribute to the society’s in social, political and economic growth. The children learn and develop mentally, psychologically and cognitively while learning problem solving, team work, and self-growth.
The project started in 2019 and has been granted extension several times due to its success. A further extension of 14 months is expected.
Are there areas in which support would be required to continue and/or scale up your good practice?
- As refugee families are part of the most vulnerable groups, needing regular support in terms of finance, protection assistance and legal counselling, cash assistance, providing independence and self-reliance would enable effective ways to persuade and enable families to enroll their children in schools.
- Organizing regular “Social Behaviour Change “sessions and regular meetings with schools, local and refugee communities in order to stabilize relationships with local authorities and opinion leaders, increase the advocacy through continuous discussions and gather up to date information on trends, risks and potential partnerships for increasing enrolment, continuity and success of children.
- • Not all challenges have been overcome yet such as structural problems causing barriers to access to education of students with disabilities. This issue is vital for the achievement of ASAM’s mission, vision and values such as leaving no one behind and equality. Thus continuous support from all implementing partners, local actors and beneficiaries themselves are required for a sustainable and effective impact.