Higher Education Policy for Displaced People: Implications of Turkey's Higher Education Policy for Syrian Migrants

Arar K., Kondakçı Y., Kaya Kaşıkcı S., Erberk E.

HIGHER EDUCATION POLICY, vol.33, no.2, pp.265-285, 2020 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 33 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1057/s41307-020-00181-2
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, EBSCO Education Source, Educational research abstracts (ERA), ERIC (Education Resources Information Center), PAIS International, Public Affairs Index, Sociological abstracts, DIALNET
  • Page Numbers: pp.265-285
  • Keywords: higher education, migrants, forced displacement, internationalization, STUDENTS, MIGRATION, REFUGEES
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


This study investigates Turkey's higher education (HE) policy for Syrian refugee students (SRSs) by examining the experiences of the students and documenting political, social and cultural dynamics behind these experiences. The study reviewed reports, notices and circulars in order to capture the key tenets of the Turkeys HE policy for the Syrians refugee students. In order to reveal the experiences of the students, 27 interviews were conducted with a group of students who are studying at a public university, which is located in the eastern part of the country. The results, first, revealed that Turkey's HE policy follows a reactive track in that the ongoing challenges have caused modification, alteration or additions into the policy. Second, both the interview results and key reports suggest documentation, language barrier, finance and guidance as the key challenges for SRSs, which inform HE policy of Turkey. Third, the students commented on the restorative impact of the higher education for normalizing their lives in a host country and building a future prospect for their own life. However, the conflicts between Syrian and Turkish students suggest that the Syrian refugee crisis goes beyond a refugee crisis and has complex sociological and political connotations, which push the issue of Syrian refugee into more repelling grounds. Further conclusions and implications are discussed.