Education for Syrian Refugees: Problems Faced by Teachers in Turkey

1Ankara University Faculty of Educational Sciences, TURKEY.
DOI: 10.14689/ejer.2018.75.9


Purpose: Providing educational services for Syrian refugee children is a new fact of life in Turkey, and the teachers who work at public schools and temporary education centers encounter some difficulties. The main purpose of this paper is to describe the problems faced in the process of educating Syrian refugee children as well as the solutions to such difficulties recommended by the teachers.

Research Methods: The study was carried out using qualitative research methods and the phenomenological model to investigate the problems faced in the process of educating the Syrian students’. The purposive sampling method was used in order to identify the participants. Thereafter; the plan was to interview the participants consisting of nine teachers of Syrian students. Interview forms were designed and developed by the researchers and used in the study. The content analysis technique was used during the analysis of the data. The Nvivo 10 package program was used.

Findings: In the study, the problems faced by the teachers were identified as a language barrier, cultural problems and discipline problems. While the teachers at the public schools appear to think that the students are on good terms with their friends, teachers and the school principal, the teachers at the temporary education centers seem to have a completely opposite view on the matter. Teachers state that they do not receive adequate support in the process of educating Syrian students and add that the students are provided with limited books and additional class support. Last, to solve these problems, the teachers recommend that the language barrier be overcome by teaching the Syrians the Turkish language, that materials and a curriculum for Turkish language education be developed, that the Syrian students be taught separately from the Turkish students, that the teachers be provided with in-service seminars, and that class populations be reduced.

Implications for Research and Practice: Teaching so many refugees is a new phenomenon for Turkey. In order to properly overcome this issue, the MoNE must be in close contact with the teachers and educational institutions working in this process. Also, for the healthy functioning of this process, the need for support from both the general public and national and international organizations should not be ignored.

Keywords: Syrian students, educational challenges, immigrants’ right to education.