Turkey has broken the world record on higher education related to international protection for refugee students, informed the head of the Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB) Abdullah Eren on Tuesday. Addressing a conference on the “Higher education for students under international protection in Istanbul with the cooperation of YTB, UNHCR Turkey and TRT World, he said YTB was offering “Turkish scholarships” to students from different parts of the world since 2011.

“We’re currently providing scholarships to students from more than 170 countries studying in Turkey. There are now 16,000 students from 170 countries,” he told the conference. Eren said that Turkey had been involved in humanistic work for refugees from the last eight years, which was also appreciated in the international arena. “All of the institutions in Turkey are putting a very professional and significant effort on this issue. Unfair criticism Turkey currently faces inside and abroad will find the answers in this event,” Eren added.

“With the ‘Turkey Scholarship’ program, we provide scholarships to many students, also benefiting from the UNHCR and EU funds. On the other hand, Turkey has broken the record in the number of refugees attending universities with six percent,” he added.

Katharina Lumpp, the UNHCR representative in Turkey, also shared global education statistics for refugees. Lumpp said 61 percent of refugee children in the world were acquiring primary education, while only 23 percent refugee adolescents were receiving a secondary education. However, she said the percentage was just one percent for higher education.

Lumpp also added that students under international protection had better higher education prospects in Turkey. Editor-in-Chief of TRT international channels Serdar Karagöz said “TRT has been providing journalism training to refugees living in the camps. It is one of our priorities to have the stories of these people heard on the world stage,” he added.

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