Education Programs for the Syrian Refugee Population and Syrian Safe Zones
Major university put forward a new proposal to educate hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees now in Turkey
WASHINGTON, June 15, 2017 – During an event held on Capitol Hill on June 14, BAU International University, a Washington, DC-based educational institution part of BAU Global, an international network of universities, introduced an ambitious and comprehensive proposal called “SAVING THE FUTURE” aimed at educating hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees now located in Turkey.
Speaking to a large audience of congressional staffers, experts and media, Dr. Sinem Vatanartiran, President of BAU International University, and Dr. Walid Phares, Vice President of BAU, outlined a major project aimed at training teachers who will, in turn, educate Syrian refugees in Turkey.
Mr. Enver Yucel, BAU Global Chairman, welcomed the large audience pointing out that it is urgent to educate Syrian refugees so that they shall become productive people. BAU Vice President Phares introduced the presentation linking the diplomatic efforts to put an end to the conflicts in the region with the imperative of providing education services to the young refugees now in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon.
As Dr. Vatanartiran pointed out, the war in Syria that started in 2011 caused a humanitarian catastrophe of historic proportions. Over 400,000 people have been killed, more than 50,000 of them children. There are more than 13.5 million displaced Syrians in need. 8.4 million children have been affected by the war. Most of them cannot get any education. Over 5 million people have fled Syria since 2011 on account of this devastating conflict.
Turkey now hosts over 3 million Syrian refugees –Vatanartiran continued– while Jordan hosts more than 600,000, and Lebanon has more than 1 million. Beyond the most immediate humanitarian needs, (shelter, food, and medical care), hundreds of thousands of Syrian children, now refugees, are unable to attend regular schools. Neglecting this critical dimension means condemning almost all of them to a hopeless future of ignorance and joblessness.
The Turkish government has tried its best to fulfill this huge education need. This daunting task, (lack of enough schools and classrooms in many areas), is made more difficult by language barriers: the Syrian children do not speak any Turkish, while very few Turks speak Arabic. However, public efforts notwithstanding, there is still a huge gap between needs and education services provided.
As Dr. Vatanartiran explained, aware of this mounting crisis, BAU University stepped in, with the goal of using its considerable resources and expertise to deal with this enormous demand for education services. Through its Center for Migration and Urban Studies (BAUMUS) and other affiliated University departments, BAU University executed various programs aimed at providing education to the Syrian refugees. One of these programs was funded via a $ 200,000 grant provided by the U.S. Government.
Based on its vast experience to date, BAU University elaborated the new plan that was presented on Capitol Hill on June 15. This comprehensive “SAVING THE FUTURE” project has already got the attention of many U.S. lawmakers. The project consists of three pillars:
- Integrating School Age Syrian Children into the Local Curriculum
- Teacher Training
- Lifelong Learning & Civic Education
BAU International University and its various higher education affiliates linked together under the BAU Global umbrella have the depth of expertise and the staff resources to implement this ambitious plan. Working with the U.S. Congress, BAU International University hopes to broaden the degree of support for this education program so that a bigger, scalable effort will be put in place as soon as possible.
As Mr. Yucel pointed out, it is urgent to intervene now in order to save an entire generation of young refugees otherwise condemned to marginalization that leads only to poverty and despair.