Situated in the Middle East, the modern-day Republic of Turkey was, from the 15th Century the centre of the Ottoman Empire, bridging continental Europe, Asia and the Arabian Peninsula. Today, the country shares borders with Bulgaria and Greece on its northwest frontier and Armenia, Georgia, Iran, Iraq and Syria to the southeast. After the fall of Ottoman rule in 1923, Turkey declared itself a republic, under the leadership of Kemal Ataturk. At present, the country’s service sector accounts for a growing share of its economy, though traditional agriculture represents approximately 25 per cent of employment.

source(s): UNESCO EFA Global Monitoring Report 2013/14

Main Barriers to Education

  • Poverty
  • Long distances to school
  • Lack of learning materials

Interventions to Barriers

  • Safe-learning spaces
  • Self-learning curriculum & materials
  • Psychosocial support & adapted curriculum

Since 2000, the Republic of Turkey has been party to the Dakar Framework for Action to realise the goals of Education for All (EFA). In fact, the government had mandated compulsory primary education in the Constitution as early as 1982 with the ratification of Article 42. However, a 2003 UNICEF report entitled “A Gender Review in Education” revealed the extent to which illiteracy and low levels of school of enrolment persisted in Turkey, necessitating action on the part of the government. The report also demonstrated that the disparity in illiteracy was particularly acute amongst women (as many as 30.8 per cent) in rural parts of the country.

In response to the report’s findings, the government implemented some concerted measures to address the education sector’s shortcomings. To that end, the Ministry of National Education (MoNE) introduced; the “International Inspiration Project” to increase education access to children with disabilities; conditional cash transfers to children in impoverished households; and programmes to provide free course books, learning materials, transportation to and from school, and school meals. With the publication of the 2015 EFA National Review, Turkey reported that it had achieved universal primary education in 2014.

However, the conflict in neighbouring Syria, has brought EAC and UNICEF USA together in partnership to start to redress the situation concerning Syrian OOSC and their lack of access to quality primary education through a regional hub in Gaziantep, Turkey. This joint project will provide psychosocial support, safe-learning environments, self-learning materials adapted to the context of the conflict in Syria, teacher training, as well as reconstruct/rehabilitate classrooms and establish Community Learning Centres (CLCs).

Geographic Location: Middle East

Languages: Turkish (official), Kurdish, other minority languages


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Equitable Access to Education for Out of School Children Affected by the Crisis in Syria

Equitable Access to Education for Out of School Children Affected by the Crisis in Syria

Successfully Completed Project

The crisis in Syria is now in its fifth year and every day the risk of a lost generation of children grows. Nearly 14 million children have been affected by escalating conflict. Half of all Syrians are displaced and close to 2 million children have fled for neighboring countries and are living in overcrowded camps, inadequate informal settlements, or host communities, where tensions are rising between refugee and local populations.



In partnership, EAC and UNICEF USA are providing quality primary education to 95,000 displaced children in Syria through offices in Amman, Damascus and Gaziantep.