The Turkish Language Training provided for adult Syrians under Temporary Protection (SuTPs) in Turkey under the “Turkey Resilience Project in Response to the Syria Crisis (TRP)” implemented jointly by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and General Directorate of Lifelong Learning of the Turkish Ministry of National Education (MoNE - GDLL) with funding from the European Union (EU) was addressed in the international forum held in Ankara. During the event that brought together development, humanitarian and education communities, national and international experts discussed innovative education and learning models, education of vulnerable groups including refugees, learning challenges and distance learning systems. Through the project, more than 70,000 adult Syrians received the Turkish Language Training with “Blended Learning Model”, including distance learning as well, at 53 Public Education Centres in 10 provinces of Turkey. The Turkish Language Training for Adults is a first in the world in terms of its innovative model in distance learning and number of people trained.
8 June 2021 Ankara – The “International Forum on New Approaches to Adult Education and Distance Learning in the Context of Displacement” was held in Ankara under the Component of Turkish Language Training for Adults of the Turkey Resilience Project in Response to the Syria Crisis (TRP) implemented jointly by the General Directorate of Lifelong Learning of the Turkish Ministry of National Education (MoNE - GDLL) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The Forum was launched online due to COVID-19 pandemic measures, and the opening speeches were delivered by Louisa Vinton, UNDP’s Resident Representative for Turkey; Libor Chlad, FRIT Projects Department Head of European Union (EU) Delegation to Turkey; and Prof. Dr. Mustafa Safran, Deputy Minister of National Education. Yusuf Yazıcı, Turkey’s national team football player and playing in Lille, and Mirjana Spoljaric Egger, Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Europe and CIS also supported the forum with their video messages.
New Approaches to Education, Migrants and Blended Learning Including Distance Learning
In the panel “Education, Lifelong Learning and Beyond: Status of Education Before and After COVID-19 Pandemic” that was started after the opening speeches and moderated by Prof. Dr. Alper Tolga Kumtepe, Member of Distance Learning Policies Commission of the Higher Education Council; Yusuf Büyük, General Director for Lifelong Learning; Seher Alacacı Arıner, UNDP Turkey’s Assistant Representative for Programs; David Mallows, Senior Lecturer of University College London (UCL) Education Institute; and Gina Ebner, Secretariat General of the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA) discussed the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on education.
In the following panel moderated by Ezgi Arslan, Projects Coordinator of UNDP Office for Turkey; Assist. Prof. Dr. Filiz Keser Aschenberger, academician of Tuna University; Yusuf Taner Tekin, Expert from the General Directorate of Lifelong Learning of the Turkish Ministry of National Education; Jens Reimann, Deputy Head of BAMF responsible for language education and political education; and Büşra Sula, Consultant for GIZ Local Initiatives Project discussed “Blended Learning in the Context of Displacement and Social Adaptation Through Language Training: Innovative Approaches, Good Practices, and Challenges”. In the expert session titled “Digital and Spatial Transformation of Learning: New Technologies and Practices in Distance Learning” that was started afternoon and moderated by Dr. Abdulkadir Karadeniz from Anadolu University; Donald Clark, Education and Technology (EdTech) Entrepreneur and Oliver Simko, Founder of Luducrafts and Gamification Designer discussed learning in the framework of new technology practices.
In the last session of the day titled “Language Education Experience Sharing for Adults” moderated by Ruşen İnceoğlu, Communications Officer, Syria Crisis Response and Resilience Portfolio at UNDP Turkey; Radek Czahajda, Leader of Online Education Festival; Trainers Ezel Türkmenoğlu and Levent Turan; Aydın Atam, Coordinator of Mersin Public Education Centre; and trainees Suad Muhammed Kasım, Rava Ömer and Miyase Ali shared their experience during the project period and their stories of learning and teaching Turkish with the participants.
About the Turkish Language Training for Syrians under Temporary Protection (SuTPs) In Turkey
Under “Turkey Resilience Project in response to the Syria Crisis (TRP) – Turkish Language Training for Adults” that started on 25 March 2019, more than 70,000 adult Syrians benefited from the Turkish Language Training to support their integration into individual, economic, social and cultural life through 53 Public Education Centres (PECs) in 10 provinces of Turkey (Adana, Bursa, Gaziantep, Hatay, Istanbul, Izmir, Kilis, Konya, Mersin and Şanlıurfa). The project is fully funded by the European Union (EU).
The Turkish Language Training for Adults aims to empower Syrians of 18 years or older living socially and economically in Turkey and contribute to their social and cultural cohesion. In this context, the Turkish Language Training has been designed based on the four basic language skills identified in the European Language Portfolio - reading, listening, speaking and writing - in a manner to equip SuTPs with the language skills they will need in order to support their participation in economic, social and cultural life. By this objective, training contents suitable for the new framework programs considering the different levels were prepared for participants and Turkish Language Training at A1, A2 and B1 levels was provided to the SuTPs between the ages of 18-75, with 70% of the trainees being women. The objective is thereby to promote the participation of women SuTPs in Turkey in economic and social life.
Blended Learning, Distance Learning and Turkish Language Training
Under the project, an Instruction Management System suitable for “Blended Learning” model in which face-to-face and distance learning methods had been used for the first time was also developed and commissioned in Turkey. The new system combines the content which trainees can remotely access through e-learning and the face-to-face classroom training at PECs. Thus, trainees attended classroom lessons at 53 Public Education Centres in 10 provinces as well as remotely attended the lessons using electronic devices such as computers, smart phones, tablets etc. The new model does not require participants to have constant Internet connection. By using Instruction Management System (IMS) developed under the project and blended learning method, it was aimed to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of training, facilitate learning and interaction, and transfer the innovations in the educational world to Turkey to enhance capacities.
The Turkish Language Training for Adults was delivered by master trainers assigned to Public Education Centres (PECs) in the provinces where the Project was being implemented. Since the inception of the Project on 25 March 2019, a total of 316 master trainers have been trained, of whom 68% are women. Infrastructural and technical support was also provided to 53 Public Education Centres in 10 provinces under the Project. Additionally, a new Public Education Centre was also built at Şehitkamil district of Gaziantep.
UNDP had provided language skills training to Syrians in previous projects. The present Project significantly scales up the efforts through a blended learning approach consisting of classroom and online learning methods; setting a first of its kind in Turkey. The present project promotes the access of women and youth to labour markets and contributes to socioeconomic empowerment of individuals and communities.
Language Is the Biggest Barrier for SuTPs in Turkey to Participating In Social Life
Studies show that language is the biggest barrier for SuTPs in Turkey to participating in economic, social and cultural life. Syrians living in Turkey need to learn a new language to achieve self-sufficiency and fully participate in economic, social and cultural life. The Turkish Language Training therefore presents a significant opportunity to SuTPs to build resilience, develop new jobs and livelihoods, contribute to economy and remain active in social life.
Through a resilience-based, local and sustainable development perspective, the project proposes long-term, comprehensive structural solutions to the problems arising due to the Syrian crisis. Centred on economic integration, social cohesion, local capacity enhancement and regional development, Turkey Resilience Project in Response to the Syria Crisis combines UNDP’s 50 years of expertise in sustainable development with the experience and capacities of national stakeholders and the EU’s financial support.
For more information: Faik Uyanık, Head of Communications Unit, UNDP Turkey. email@example.com
E.Ruşen İnceoğlu, Communications Officer, Syria Crisis Response and Resilience Portfolio at UNDP Turkey,firstname.lastname@example.org