In an interview published this week, ('Syria's 'Lost Generation' of Kids, Caught Between Limited Education and Pressure to Provide'), Dawn Chatty and Sarah Wahby sat down with news website Syria Deeply to discuss the obstacles to staying in and completing their education faced by many young refugees from Syria. Sarah Wahby is one of the authors of the recent report Ensuring quality education for young refugees from Syria, which was supervised by Professor Chatty. The report maps education provision for refugees from Syria aged 12–25 years in Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey, the countries hosting the majority of Syrian refugees.
As Wahby and Professor Chatty explain, the situation is highly complex. Provision varies across the four main hosting countries and in many cases funding and infrastructure are lacking. Young refugees without financial resources must help provide for their families, and the ones who do try to stay in education sometimes end up stymied by differences in qualifications and bureaucratic rules:
There is also a lack of flexibility in ministries of education, where they need to put more effort into recognizing former qualifications and accreditation of Syrian teachers in neighboring countries. There are many instances where young people don’t have their certificates – they were either destroyed or left behind – so they are unable to re-enter formal education at the same level as their peers...The problem isn’t only that they don’t have documentation. Host countries should be able to contact the Ministry of Education in Syria to figure out what levels of schooling the students have finished, but most of those who have fled from Syria don’t want the government to know they have fled. Most of the countries neighboring Syria are not in working relations with Syria and won’t consider contacting the Ministry of Education.