International protection applicants and beneficiaries, upon meeting certain conditions, can benefit from the right to education in Turkey. You and your child will have access to primary, secondary, and higher education, as well as to Turkish language courses and vocational training if you are an international protection applicant or beneficiary.
In order to benefit from the rights and services provided within the framework of international protection in Turkey, you need to complete your international protection application. Therefore, to enjoy the right to education without restriction, you need to have your International Protection Applicant Identity Document or International Protection Beneficiary Identity Document issued by the Provincial Directorate of Migration Management which bears your foreigner ID number starting with ‘99’. This number will be essential in ensuring your access to all levels of education as well as to Turkish language courses and vocational training.
Under the current legislation in Turkey, all children have the right to receive, and the obligation to attend, primary and secondary education. A child whose international protection application is not yet completed can access public schools, however, she/he will be enrolled as a guest student. It is possible to change this guest status upon completing the international protection application of your child.
Please also be informed that in order to access educational opportunities for adults, you also must complete your international protection application.
As per the current legislation, all children, including children who are international protection applicants and beneficiaries, have the right to compulsory education in Turkey. Therefore, your school-aged child can attend a public school.
Compulsory education in Turkey covers 12 years and has three stages: 4 years of primary school (1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade), 4 years of lower-secondary school (5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grade), and 4 years of upper-secondary school (9th, 10th, 11th and 12th grade). The language of instruction in public schools is Turkish.
For further information about how to register your child in the correct school, you may visit the Provincial Education Directorate in your city of residence.
In order to enroll your child in a public school, you need to approach the District Education Directorate in your location. During registration, you will need your and your child’s International Protection Applicant Identity Document or International Protection Beneficiary Identity Document which bears your foreigner ID number starting with ‘99’. As school enrollment is carried out based on your place of residence, you need an official document from the Population and Civil Registry Department in your district showing your residential address. The District Education Directorate will refer you to the nearest available public school for registration.
Depending on the grade, you may be required to submit additional documents demonstrating previous school attendance or your child’s diplomas. If you do not have these documents, the District Education Commission established within the Provincial or District Education Directorate will carry out a grade placement evaluation. The District Education Commission will carry out an oral or written test and following this assessment, your child will be placed in the appropriate grade level.
Students who have successfully fulfilled the requirements of a public school are entitled to receive a diploma.
However, if your child is registered as a guest student, she/he may not receive a diploma. In order to avoid any such problems, please complete the international protection registration of your child at your earliest convenience and inform the school administration about the completion of the registration.
Education is free in all public schools.
Children who have successfully completed eight years of compulsory education are entitled to enroll in high school. It is therefore important to present documents demonstrating previous school attendance to the Provincial or District Education Directorate.
The District Education Directorate shall carry out an assessment and notify you about the results and grade placement. Following this notification, you can enroll your child at the school where he/she has been placed. It is important to have your child’s International Protection Applicant or Beneficiary Identity Document with you during the application process.
If you do not have any documents demonstrating your child’s previous school attendance, you must approach the District Education Directorate. The officials of the District Education Directorate will carry out an assessment to decide the appropriate grade level for your child. You will be able to enroll your child as per the decision of this assessment.
If you face any difficulty during registration, please approach the Provincial Education Directorates or the District Education Directorates.
Students who have successfully fulfilled the requirements of public high schools are entitled to receive a high school diploma.
However, if you completed your high school outside of Turkey and you cannot provide documents demonstrating your previous school attendance, you are required to take an exam known as the High School Proficiency and Equivalency Examination for Foreign Students (YÖLYDS). This examination is conducted once a year and sessions are convened in select provinces.
In order to apply to take this examination, you are required to complete your international protection registration and have an up-to-date profile in the Foreign Student Information Management System (YÖBİS). Those who are enrolled in public schools are registered in the Foreign Student Information Management System.
Applications for the High School Proficiency and Equivalency Examination for Foreign Students should be submitted to school administrators. In order to avoid any problem at this stage, you must present a hard copy of the student certificate obtained through the Foreign Student Information Management System, the High School Proficiency and Equivalency Examination application form, and a copy of your International Protection Applicant or Beneficiary Identity Document. Please refer to www.yobis.meb.gov.tr for up-to-date information and announcements related to the examination.
The Ministry of National Education provides distance education opportunities for those who were or are not able to complete their secondary or high school education. International protection applicants or beneficiaries can also benefit from these distance education opportunities.
Currently, there are five distance education institutions: Secondary School (Açık Öğretim Ortaokulu), High School (Açık Öğretim Lisesi), Vocational High School (Mesleki Açık Öğretim Lisesi), Imam Hatip High School (İmam Hatip Açık Öğretim Lisesi), and Vocational and Technical School (Mesleki ve Teknik Açık Öğretim Okulu). The language of instruction and examination in these schools is Turkish.
For Secondary Schools providing distance education, applicants should be at least 14 years old and should have completed the 4th grade. For students who have completed their primary education outside of Turkey, you need to approach the Provincial Education Directorate in your city of residence and receive an equivalency document. After you receive your equivalency document, you may approach a Public Education Center, a Vocational High School or an Imam Hatip High School in your district to apply.
There is no age limitation to register at a High School, a Vocational School or an Imam Hatip High School providing distance education. For those who have completed their secondary education in Turkey successfully, they need to present their diploma for registration. Those who have completed their secondary school education abroad should approach the Provincial Education Directorate to receive an equivalency document and complete their registration with that document. You will also need your International Protection Applicant or Beneficiary Identity Document during registration. You may visit a Public Education Center, a Vocational High School or an Imam Hatip High School in your district to apply. Students enrolled in Vocational Schools or Imam Hatip High Schools providing distance education might be expected to attend some of the vocational training courses delivered at a school near their place of residence.
Vocational and Technical Schools providing distance education are for students who have completed their primary education and who would like to acquire occupational and technical skills. You may visit a Public Education Center with your primary school diploma or your equivalency document to register.
You may contact the 147 call center of the Ministry of National Education with your inquiries about distance education opportunities. For further information about requirements, registration procedures and the curriculum, please visit the Ministry of National Education websites on distance education: www.aol.meb.gov.tr and www.maol.meb.gov.tr.
The diploma received from high schools providing distance education is considered equivalent to a regular high school diploma. If you or your child could not or will not be able to attend high school and receive a high school diploma, you or your child can be enrolled in a school providing distance education. If you successfully complete your distance education, the diploma you receive may allow you to continue to higher education.
Persons who are international protection applicants or beneficiaries can enroll in universities if they meet certain conditions.
The completion of primary and secondary education in Turkey is required prior to enrolling in higher education. Students who have completed their education in public schools or in schools providing distance education in Turkey will have fulfilled this requirement. However, those who graduated from institutions outside of Turkey or who cannot demonstrate previous school attendance are required to take the High School Proficiency and Equivalency Examination for Foreign Students.
All foreigners who wish to enroll in universities in Turkey should take and pass the Examination for Foreign Students (YÖS), organized by universities. You may be required to pay an application fee to take this exam. In addition, universities have the discretion to request additional documents related to the applicant’s previous education. Depending on the language of instruction at the university and in the department, applicants may be required to demonstrate their language proficiency. We therefore recommend that you consult the Foreign Student Departments or university websites for detailed information on requirements and for announcements.
There is no requirement for you to withdraw your international protection application to continue to higher education in Turkey. If the university you are admitted to is located in a province other than your city of registration, you will need to request a change in your city of registration by approaching the Provincial Directorate of Migration Management.
International protection applicants or beneficiaries can enroll in distance education programs of universities if they meet certain requirements. Although the language of instruction for most of these programs and courses is Turkish, there are also programs where the language of instruction is a language other than Turkish. For further information about distance education programs, and about registration requirements and procedures, please visit the websites of the universities.
There are a number of scholarships available for students. The Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities provides various scholarship programs for foreign students including students under international protection. In order to receive further information about the application procedures and content of these scholarship programs, you may visit the official website of “Türkiye Scholarships” at www.turkiyeburslari.gov.tr. You may also approach civil society organizations for further information about other scholarship opportunities.
All children, young persons and adults who wish to learn Turkish should approach Public Education Centers. These centers provide free courses. You will need to present your International Protection Applicant or Beneficiary Identity Document in order to register.
In addition, several civil society organizations operate free Turkish language courses under the supervision of the Ministry of National Education. You may also take these courses.
You may approach Public Education Centers to receive vocational training. These courses are offered free of charge. However, please be aware that each Public Education Center determines course offerings on a yearly basis and may open new courses on demand. We therefore recommend that you approach the Public Education Centers to inquire about available courses. Please also note that you will be required to present your International Protection Applicant or Beneficiary Identity Document before you can enroll in these courses.
The Turkish Employment Agency (İŞKUR) also runs several vocational courses. You may visit the Turkish Employment Agency offices to ask about course availability. Finally, there are civil society organizations that provide free skills training, hobby, and vocational courses under the supervision of the Ministry of National Education.