December 16, 2015

Higher Education for Syrian Refugees & IDPs

Due to the large numbers of refugees migrating to Europe, the attention to reception in the region has increased sharply, as demonstrated during the European summit in Turkey. Throughout 2015, SPARK worked on the design of a four year programme to provide approximately 10,000 Syrian refugees and IDPs with higher education in Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. To achieve this, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs granted SPARK funding to allow for an initial placement of 2,000 refugees students in the coming months in higher education institutions.

To accomplish this, SPARK finalised deals with higher education institutions in all aforementioned countries and published the website SPARK met a crucial demand by creating this programme, with thousands registering within weeks of the launch.

“If I don’t get accepted to university this year, I am going back to Syria to fight. At least I will do something useful there instead of sitting around all day doing nothing” – Syrian refugee, Gaziantep.

Hundreds of thousands of Syrian youths who have fled Syria as a result of ongoing conflict are currently living in the countries surrounding Syria and have access to neither higher education nor employment. The figures are dramatic with only 6% of young refugees (18-24 years old) enrolled in higher education in these regions. SPARK is proud to support these youth in announcing that, through December 2015, 200 students in Kurdistan are being placed at several state universities through the Ministry of Higher Education. In Turkey, 125 students have been selected to start at the University of Gaziantep. In Jordan, around 50 students will start in 2015 and this will grow to 150 in 2016. Inside Syria, hundreds will continue their education as six higher vocational institutes with which SPARK has been collaborating.  Registration is still taking place in Lebanon. When the students are enrolled, the first 50 will start with certified short courses at the American University in Beirut. Another 150 will be placed at the Kaywran vocational school in the Beekaa to complete higher technical diplomas before the end of the year. At the end of 2016, we aspire to have 2000 students who either completed certified short courses or are enrolled in full time bachelor education.

The website will be completely revamped in the coming months to allow for easier registration.

*Image taken from*