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EU envoy praises Turkey's success in educating Syrian refugee children

KAHRAMANMARAS, TURKEY - SEPTEMBER 19: Syrian refugee children attend 2nd degree class at the Kahramanmaras refugee camp's school on September 19, 2019 in Kahramanmaras, Turkey. Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is pushing for the creation of an expanded “safe zone” in northern Syria where his government hopes to resettle up to three million Syrian refugees. The United States and Turkey recently started joint patrols of a small buffer zone along the border, but it’s a far cry from the 20-by-300 mile strip proposed by Mr. Erdogan, and no other power involved in the war as agreed to the idea. Turkey has warned that, if it doesn’t receive more international support for the safe zone, it might relax its migration controls and reopen the route for refugees to enter Europe. More than 3.6 million Syrian refugees have settled in Turkey after fleeing the civil war that began in 2011. (Photo by Burak Kara/Getty Images)
Syrian refugee children attend 2nd degree class at the Kahramanmaras refugee camp's school on September 19, 2019 in Kahramanmaras, Turkey. [Burak Kara/Getty Images]

The Turkish state and public are scoring great successes in the education of hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugee children, said the top EU diplomat in Turkey on Tuesday, Anadolu Agency reported.

Speaking at a school opening ceremony in the southern Gaziantep province, Ambassador Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut said: "The fact that up to 700,000 Syrian kids are integrated into Turkish education system is a huge and unique success story."

Meyer-Landrut, head of the EU Delegation to Turkey, added that the EU can only help as part of its support programs, but that this success belongs to Turkey.

Landrut also said that the EU has financed over 400 schools across Turkey as well as the operational costs, training, and employment of teachers

Thanking the Turkish government and particularly the National Education Ministry for their cooperation, Landrut wished success to all the students and teachers.

READ: Dozens of girl students flee Afghanistan to settle in Canada

Gaziantep Governor Davut Gul also stated that they decided to open a school every week from the beginning of the term, adding that a total of 41 schools have been completed this year.

He added that the construction of 54 schools is continuing, with many expected to be completed by the end of 2021.

Umut Gur, the ministry's official in charge of construction, stated that 1.2 million of the Syrians under temporary protection living in Turkey are of school age.

Turkey hosts nearly 4 million Syrian refugees, more than any other country in the world.

Gur said that while the population of refugees of preschool age is around 127,000, there are 442,000 students of primary school age, 348,000 of secondary school age, and 278,000 students in secondary education under temporary protection.

Also present at the ceremony were Yasin Tepe, Turkey's provincial education director, Klaus Muller, Southeastern Europe and Turkey director of the German-owned KfW development bank, as well as students and parents.

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