How Are the Prospects for Refugees to Become Active Members of Society? – The Vision and Practices in Turkish Adult Education

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Social integration of refugees is a major challenge for any country that hosts sizable refugee communities. Recently, Turkey has joined the ranks of such countries as it was transformed to become the country with the highest number of refugees in the world through an inflow of over 3.6 million mostly young and uneducated asylum-seekers from Syria in a matter of a few years. This chapter presents a critical analysis of the Turkish adult education (AE) sector by applying the concept of active participatory citizenship in the context of the current refugee crisis with a focus on its role in helping this vulnerable community to become active members of the society. This chapter argues that AE and Lifelong Learning (LLL) programs have the potential to empower Syrian refugees in such a way to make them into active members, contributing social, economic and cultural ways in Turkish society. To make its arguments, the chapter firstly provides a brief analysis of Turkey’s reform agenda in the field of AE since 1990s. By drawing on selected statistics it highlights the shortcomings in Turkey with respect to developing sustainable and gender sensitive AE programs, especially for young adults. Secondly, it investigates the major legal and institutional developments in Turkey since the first wave of the refugees entering to Turkey after beginning of the Syrian Civil War in 2011. Lastly, it will provide an analysis of how new AE programs for refugees are designed, which are characterised by a holistic view of social inclusion and target specific groups of refugees under the pressure of multiple vulnerabilities.




Erdoğan, A., Unutulmaz, K. O., Aydemir, S. G., & Erdoğan, M. M. (2021). How Are the Prospects for Refugees to Become Active Members of Society? – The Vision and Practices in Turkish Adult Education. In Lifelong Learning Book Series (Vol. 26, pp. 79–101). Springer Nature.

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