Education Champion Network

Metin Çorabatır

Founder and President, İltica ve Göç Araştırma Merkezi (İGAM) Champion since 2018
“Schooling rates decrease as refugee girls get older. For these children to continue their education, we need to create a student-friendly environment, connect them to the school, the curriculum and their families.”
Helping Syrian refugee girls to enrol in school through community outreach and a mobile app

The Issue

Turkey is home to 3.6 million registered Syrian refugees and asylum seekers. About 37% of Syrian refugee children (400,000) are out of school in Turkey due to poverty, language barriers, early marriage, transportation costs, lack of documentation and discrimination.

Metin’s approach

Community Advocacy

Metin was a print and TV journalist for 18 years, working as a diplomatic correspondent, foreign news correspondent, news editor and producer. He then became a spokesperson for UNHCR in Turkey for another 18 years. He also worked as a policy consultant and expert on asylum and migration issues, publishing several academic papers.

Following his mandatory retirement from UNHCR, Metin founded İltica ve Göç Araştırmaları Merkezi (İGAM) in 2013 to advance the rights of refugees in Turkey and around the world.

With his Malala Fund grant, Metin and İGAM meet with parents in Ankara, Kilis and Şanlıurfa to discuss the value of educating girls. They work with school management to improve the registration processes so it’s easier for refugee girls to enrol. And they lead social media campaigns to raise awareness about the barriers preventing refugee girls from learning. İGAM also works in close cooperation with the Ministry of National Education (MoNE) as an advocate for refugee girls’ access to education.

Through their mobile application I’Mappy, İGAM also provides students and their families with school enrolment information, study materials for students and a call button for refugee girls in Ankara who need help convincing their parents to enrol them.

Metin’s impact

In Turkey, school registration only occurs in September and students who miss enrolment have to wait a full year before they try again. In 2019, İGAM provided information to 595 refugee girls in Ankara on how and when to enrol in public school. İGAM also formed four refugee parents groups in Keçiören and Onder districts to identify out-of-school children and help them return to the classroom. 

In 2019, Metin and İGAM also worked to revise the national curriculum in Turkey, TVET, to better support refugees and girls. In 2018, the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) named IGAM one of best NGOs in the world in mitigating hate speech. 

The European Union asked Metin to be a rapporteur at the June 2020 Brussels IV Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region to share civil society recommendations on refugee children education. 

During the COVID-19 crisis, IGAM mobilised more than 20 volunteers — including Turkish and Syrian university graduates and academics — to provide private online supplementary courses for students having trouble following the MoNE’s virtual courses. The volunteer teachers supported Syrian students in mathematics, Turkish, English, science and social sciences. İGAM is expanding the programme due to the high levels of interest from parents and educators. 

More about Metin

Website: iGAM
Twitter: @corabati
Organization's Twitter: @igam_igamder

There are 2 other Education Champions working in Turkey.