IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

School Integration of Syrian Refugee Children in Turkey


  • Murat Kirdar

    (Murat Güray Kırdar)

  • Ismet Koc
  • Meltem Dayioglu


Although school integration of the children of economic migrants in developed countries is well-studied in the literature, little evidence based on large-scale representative data exists on the school integration of refugee children—many of whom live in low- or middle-income countries. This study focuses on Syrian refugee children in Turkey and examines the underlying causes of native– refugee differences in school enrolment. For this purpose, we use the 2018 Turkish Demographic and Health Survey, which includes a representative sample of Syrian refugee households. Accounting for a rich set of socioeconomic variables, we find that the native–refugee gap in school enrolment drops by half for boys and two-thirds for girls, but the gap persists for both genders. When we restrict the sample to refugees who arrived in Turkey at or before age 8 and account for socioeconomic differences, the native–refugee gap completely vanishes for both boys and girls, indicating that school integration of refugee children in Turkey has been possible conditional on their age at arrival. We also find that the timing of boys’ school dropouts coincides with their entry into the labor market, whereas girls’ dropouts mostly occur before marriage age. Finally, we reveal important differences between natives and refugees, as well as early and late arrivers among refugees, in never starting school, grade progression and repetition, dropping out, and grade for age.

Suggested Citation

  • Murat Kirdar & Ismet Koc & Meltem Dayioglu, 2022. "School Integration of Syrian Refugee Children in Turkey," RF Berlin - CReAM Discussion Paper Series 2217, Rockwool Foundation Berlin (RF Berlin) - Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM).
  • Handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:2217

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Andreas Ammermueller, 2007. "Poor Background or Low Returns? Why Immigrant Students in Germany Perform so Poorly in the Programme for International Student Assessment," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(2), pages 215-230.
    2. Akresh, Richard & de Walque, Damien, 2008. "Armed Conflict and Schooling: Evidence from the 1994 Rwandan Genocide," IZA Discussion Papers 3516, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Sylke Schnepf, 2007. "Immigrants’ educational disadvantage: an examination across ten countries and three surveys," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 20(3), pages 527-545, July.
    4. Shemyakina, Olga, 2011. "The effect of armed conflict on accumulation of schooling: Results from Tajikistan," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 186-200, July.
    5. Caroline Krafft & Maia Sieverding & Nasma Berri & Caitlyn Keo & Mariam Sharpless, 2022. "Education Interrupted: Enrollment, Attainment, and Dropout of Syrian Refugees in Jordan," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 58(9), pages 1874-1892, September.
    6. Gonzalez, Arturo, 2003. "The education and wages of immigrant children: the impact of age at arrival," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 203-212, April.
    7. van Ours, Jan C. & Veenman, Justus, 2006. "Age at immigration and educational attainment of young immigrants," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 90(3), pages 310-316, March.
    8. Courtney Brell & Christian Dustmann & Ian Preston, 2020. "The Labor Market Integration of Refugee Migrants in High-Income Countries," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 94-121, Winter.
    9. Demirci, Murat & Kırdar, Murat Güray, 2023. "The labor market integration of Syrian refugees in Turkey," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 162(C).
    10. Aygün, Aysun Hızıroğlu & Kirdar, Murat Güray & Koyuncu, Murat & Stoeffler, Quentin, 2021. "Keeping Refugee Children in School and Out of Work: Evidence from the World's Largest Humanitarian Cash Transfer Program," IZA Discussion Papers 14513, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    11. Richard Akresh & Redstone Akresh, 2011. "Using Achievement Tests to Measure Language Assimilation and Language Bias among the Children of Immigrants," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(3), pages 647-667.
    12. Balcilar, Mehmet & Nugent, Jeffrey B., 2019. "The migration of fear: An analysis of migration choices of Syrian refugees," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 95-110.
    13. Di Maio, Michele & Nandi, Tushar K., 2013. "The effect of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict on child labor and school attendance in the West Bank," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(1), pages 107-116.
    14. Colding, Bjørg & Husted, Leif & Hummelgaard, Hans, 2009. "Educational progression of second-generation immigrants and immigrant children," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 434-443, August.
    15. Jensen, Peter & Rasmussen, Astrid Würtz, 2011. "The effect of immigrant concentration in schools on native and immigrant children's reading and math skills," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1503-1515.
    16. Moussa, Wael & Salti, Nisreen & Irani, Alexandra & Mokdad, Rima Al & Jamaluddine, Zeina & Chaaban, Jad & Ghattas, Hala, 2022. "The impact of cash transfers on Syrian refugee children in Lebanon," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 150(C).
    17. Luis PINEDO-CARO, 2020. "Syrian Refugees in the Turkish Labour Market: A Socio-Economic AnalysisAbstract: This article explores the socio-economic conditions of Syrian refugees in Turkey with the help of the Household Labour ," Sosyoekonomi Journal, Sosyoekonomi Society, issue 28(46).
    18. Özler, Berk & Çelik, Çiğdem & Cunningham, Scott & Cuevas, P. Facundo & Parisotto, Luca, 2021. "Children on the move: Progressive redistribution of humanitarian cash transfers among refugees," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 153(C).
    19. Chiswick, Barry R. & DebBurman, Noyna, 2004. "Educational attainment: analysis by immigrant generation," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 361-379, August.
    20. Laura Ansala & Ulla Hämäläinen & Matti Sarvimäki, 2020. "Age at arrival, parents and neighborhoods: understanding the educational attainment of immigrants’ children [The economic situation of first and second-generation immigrants in France, Germany and ," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(2), pages 459-480.
    21. Sukanya Basu, 2018. "Age-of-Arrival Effects on the Education of Immigrant Children: A Sibling Study," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 39(3), pages 474-493, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Murat Guray Kirdar & Ismet Koc & Meltem Dayıoglu, 2021. "School Integration of Refugee Children: Evidence from the Largest Refugee Group in any Country," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 2116, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
    2. Sweetman, A. & van Ours, J.C., 2014. "Immigration : What About the Children and Grandchildren?," Discussion Paper 2014-009, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    3. Helena Skyt Nielsen & Beatrice Schindler Rangvid, 2012. "The impact of parents’ years since migration on children’s academic achievement," IZA Journal of Migration and Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 1(1), pages 1-23, December.
    4. Giannelli, Gianna Claudia & Rapallini, Chiara, 2016. "Immigrant student performance in Math: Does it matter where you come from?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 291-304.
    5. Hendrik Jürges & Luca Stella & Sameh Hallaq & Alexandra Schwarz, 2022. "Cohort at risk: long-term consequences of conflict for child school achievement," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 35(1), pages 1-43, January.
    6. Julia Bredtmann & Sebastian Otten & Christina Vonnahme, 2021. "Linguistic diversity in the classroom, student achievement, and social integration," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(2), pages 121-142, March.
    7. Marie C. Hull, 2023. "What divides the first and second generations? Family time of arrival and educational outcomes for immigrant youth," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 89(3), pages 754-787, January.
    8. Aslund, Olof & Böhlmark, Anders & Nordström Skans, Oskar, 2009. "Age at Migration and Social Integration," IZA Discussion Papers 4263, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Dustmann, Christian & Glitz, Albrecht, 2011. "Migration and Education," Handbook of the Economics of Education, in: Erik Hanushek & Stephen Machin & Ludger Woessmann (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Education, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 0, pages 327-439, Elsevier.
    10. Thomas Gries & Margarete Redlin & Moonum Zehra, 2022. "Educational Assimilation of First-Generation and Second-Generation Immigrants in Germany," Journal of International Migration and Integration, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 815-845, June.
    11. Åslund, Olof & Böhlmark, Anders & Skans, Oskar Nordström, 2015. "Childhood and family experiences and the social integration of young migrants," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 135-144.
    12. Ohinata, Asako & van Ours, Jan C., 2012. "Young immigrant children and their educational attainment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 116(3), pages 288-290.
    13. Hull, Marie & Norris, Jonathan, 2020. "The skill development of children of immigrants," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 78(C).
    14. Are Skeie Hermansen, 2017. "Age at Arrival and Life Chances Among Childhood Immigrants," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 54(1), pages 201-229, February.
    15. Eric Dago, 2020. "Armed Conflict and Children's School/Work Time Allocation : evidence from Côte d'Ivoire," Working Papers hal-02940251, HAL.
    16. Dominic Rohner, 2022. "Conflict, Civil Wars and Human Development," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'économie 22.08, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, Département d’économie.
    17. Yamada, Hiroyuki & Matsushima, Midori, 2020. "Impacts of long-lasting civil conflicts on education: Evidence from the 2014 Census of Myanmar," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(C).
    18. Demirci, Murat & Kırdar, Murat Güray, 2023. "The labor market integration of Syrian refugees in Turkey," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 162(C).
    19. Stuart Cameron, 2012. "Education, Urban Poverty and Migration: Evidence from Bangladesh and Vietnam," Papers inwopa679, Innocenti Working Papers.
    20. Santos, Manon Domingues Dos & Wolff, François-Charles, 2011. "Human capital background and the educational attainment of second-generation immigrants in France," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 1085-1096, October.

    More about this item


    refugees; education; school enrollment; integration; child labor; marriage; Turkey;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:2217. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: CReAM Administrator or Matthew Nibloe (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.