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Syrian Refugee Students’ Pathways of Access to and through Higher Education in Turkey

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>25/06/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>International Journal of Inclusive Education
Publication statusAccepted/In press
Original languageEnglish


This paper aims to explore and understand how refugee students construct pathways of access to higher education and how they experience this education by drawing on interviews with fifteen Syrian university students studying at different universities across Turkey. The research is located within a capabilities-based human development paradigm from which it outlines the factors that enable students’ access to university and the ways in which higher education expands the opportunities of students to lead better lives (capabilities) and the achievements (functionings) that they have reason to value. The refugees’ narratives show that the pathways to access are intersectionally shaped by personal ambition and agency, family encouragement, support from those around them, gender, the government policy of lifting fees for refugees, and the availability of several scholarships. Student voices also show that higher education works as a site of justice where the everyday racism, xenophobia, and discrimination is alleviated to a significant degree through providing a peaceful and safe space for coexistence with others, and how it has an impact towards gender equality in their personal lives. The discussions indicate that higher education can be inclusive to the extent that it offers a space of equity for refugees and encourages them to work and act with others in order to expand the comprehensive capabilities of others.