22 SES 17 B, Various Perspectives on Diversity in Higher Education
The civil war in Syria affected millions of people and they had to migrate to other countries. Turkey, as a neighboring nation has received more than four million Syrians since the beginning of the civil war. There are currently over three million four hundred thousand asylum-seekers from Syria live in different cities of Turkey (Directorate General of Migration Management, 2017). UNICEF (2017) warns us that interrupted education can cause a generation gap and international community should help host countries so that the resettlement can be easier. Selcuk R. Sirin (2017) warns us too, that without education Syrians can be victims of ISIS kind terrorist organizations.
Education as a basic human right is provided for free by the Ministry of Education from kindergarten through high school in Turkey. Higher education is served under the management of the Council of Higher Education in different universities of Turkey. According to Council of Higher Education (2017), there are more than fifteen thousand higher education students from Syrian background in Turkey and the number is increasing. According to Anselme and Hands (2010), there are challenges that the students from refugee (asylum-seeker) background face challenges to access and succeed in higher education. They are; partial application of legal instruments, limited special support, the cost of education, and problems of recognition and accreditations of prior and current learning.
In this study, we were interested in exploring scientific studies about Syrian higher education students. We were especially interested in learning the current situation in Turkey so that future studies can be more effective. This study can be beneficial for other countries hosting asylum-seekers because we think that sharing experiences and information can positively direct future of asylum-seekers and host nations. The examination of studies about asylum-seekers will provide a general overview as well as pedagogical approach and policy development for improving the quality of higher education for asylum-seekers.
The purpose of this study was to analyze scientific studies published between 2012 and 2017 about Syrian higher education students in Turkey. The following research questions guided this study: What are the characteristics of the empirical studies about asylum-seekers? What does the research conclude about asylum-seeker background students at universities? What is next about researching about asylum-seekers at universities?
Systematic review studies gather data from the literature on the topics of interest. In this work, we used a meta-ethnography that our focus was on constructing interpretations and “metaphors” as categories (Noblit & Hare, 1988). The data of this meta-ethnographic study consisted of 10 research articles chosen from databases according to inclusion and exclusion criteria. The inclusion principles were: 1. Studies found in ERIC and Turkish indexes (Ulakbim, Google Scholar, and Sobiad). 2. Published in Turkish or English. 3. Published between 01.01.2012-31.12.2017. 4. Conducted with university students (Turkish or Syrian students). 5. Published in peer-reviewed journals. 6. Meeting at least five of Elliot, Fischer, and Rennie’s (1999) guidelines for publication of research studies. The exclusion principles were: 1. Research reports, opinion-style articles, theses/dissertations, book chapters, and symposium/conference presentations. 2. Published before 2012 and after 2017. 3. Conducted at other levels of education (Preschool, primary, middle, high schools, and language learning centers. The articles were found by searching these keywords: "Syrian," and "University," or "Higher Education,” and "Asylum-seekers" at ERIC, Ulakbim, Google Scholar, and Sobiad academic search engines. Asylum-seekers are sometimes called by several names in Turkey, the following keywords were also used instead while searching: "Refugees," "Temporary protection," "Guests," “Foreign students,” “Foreign nationals,” and "Migrants." The reference lists of articles were also manually scrutinized to find relevant scholarly works. Peer-reviewed journal articles included in the analysis. Initially the abstracts and methodology parts of the articles were read by each researcher and jointly decided to be included or excluded by the selection criteria mentioned above that are based on search engines, keywords, publication date, study group/sample (Academics, university students-both Turkish and Syrian), and the context (Higher education). At the next stage, full articles were read to be included in or excluded from the analysis. Moher, Liberati, Tetzlaff, Altman, & The PRISMA Group’s (2009) “flow of information through the different phases of a systematic review” guided this systematic review. In order to synthesize the findings, a thematic analysis was performed. Our focus was not to statistically report the findings instead to thematically present the results of the analysis.
Higher education for asylum-seekers is an important topic that when they return to Syria, they will be a part of rebuilding their war-torn country. To do so, they need a quality education that will enable them to create more democratic, peaceful, and stable country. We hope that this review will help exploring the current situation and guide future research about refugee education both in Turkey and other countries, especially European countries hosting them. Based on the results, we will discuss the following emerged themes during the conference in Bolzano, Italy. The first one is the language problem Syrian university students have while attending the classes in higher education institutions. The second theme is about mixed attitudes of Turkish university students toward Syrians. The third theme is about the lack of studies conducted nationwide.
Anselme, M. L., & Hands, C. (2010). Access to secondary and tertiary education for all refugees: Steps and challenges to overcome. Refugee: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 27(2), 89-96. Council of Higher Education. (2017). Students according to nationality. Retrieved November 14, 2017, from https://istatistik.yok.gov.tr/ Directorate General of Migration Management. (2017). Distribution by age and gender of registered Syrian refugees. Accessed on December 25, 2017, at http://www.goc.gov.tr/icerik6/gecici-koruma_363_378_4713_icerik Elliott, D., Fischer, C. T., & Rennie, D. L. (1999). Evolving guidelines for publication of research studies in psychology and related fields. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 38, 215–229. doi:10.1348/014466599162782 Moher, D., Liberati, A., Tetzlaff, J., Altman, D. G., & The PRISMA Group. (2009). Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses: The PRISMA Statement. PLOS Medicine, 6(7). doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000097 Noblit, G. W., & Hare, R. D. (1988). Meta-ethnography: Synthesizing qualitative studies. Newbury Park: SAGE. Sirin, S. R. (2017). Bir Türkiye Hayali. İstanbul, Turkey: DoganKitap. UNICEF. (2017). Over 40 percent of Syrian refugee children in Turkey missing out on education. Accessed on December 15, 2017, at https://www.unicef.org/files/Syria_2yr_Report.pdf
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