17 December, 2015
There are about 650,000 school-aged Syrian refugee children in Turkey.
Government officials estimate only about one-third of them are going to school.
Educating the refugee children is an enormous task. One U.S. official says that a huge school system like the one in New York City would be overwhelmed.
Human Rights Watch says that if the students do not receive a quality education, they would be in danger of being exploited in dangerous and low-paying jobs in the future.
The United States says it is working with the United Nations to help bridge the education gap for refugee children.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the children in Turkey need to start school soon. Without school, the effects will be negative and long-lasting. It would be the same as if the three largest public school systems in the U.S. – New York, Chicago and Los Angeles – closed.
The United States provided Turkey with aid for education earlier. In December, it offered an additional $24 million.
Human Rights Watch says a quality education will ensure a more stable future for these children.
The organization says about 90 percent of children in refugee camps run by the Turkish government attend school. But most of the children living outside of those camps are not receiving education.
UNICEF says the goal is to get twice as many Syrian children into school in Turkey by June 2016.
The Syrian American Council says it is important to focus on school-aged children today. They will be the future leaders of Syria if they return home after the war.
I'm Dan Friedell.
Nike Ching wrote this story for VOANews.com. Dan Friedell adapted her report for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.
How can the United Nations help educate the children in refugee camps? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section or on 51VOA.COM.
Words in This Story
exploit – v. to use (someone or something) in a way that helps you unfairly
gap – n. a missing part
overwhelm – v. to cause (someone) to have too many things to deal with