Country: Turkey
Institutions: Instabul Aydin University, Blue Crescent Relief and Development Foundation
Name of Experience: Higher Education English Access Programme


HOPES (Higher and Further Education Opportunities and Perspectives for Syrians) is a €12 million project, funded by the European Union’s Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian Crisis, ‘the Madad Fund’ and implemented by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) together with the British Council, Campus France and Nuffic. The life span of the project will be from April 2016 until November 2019.

Under Higher Education English Access Programme, HOPES offers university-aged refugees from Syria in Turkey, one hundred hours of English training and English certification through partnership with Karabük University and Istanbul University. HOPES is also in partnership with Gaziantep and Adana Universities, and the trainings are being planned with those universities as well.

Courses are offered to students from Syria who are enrolled in academic programs in English within Turkish universities. Students benefit from university-based English and study skills courses. The courses consist of 100 hour-face to face classes with a British Council trained local teacher, blended with a 40-hour online British Council course.

More information at:
HEEAP (Higher Education English Access Program)


Students are required to take Online Placement Test to identify their levels before startingthe courses. Then they take APTIS exam to assess their level and achievement at the end of the courses. 79 Syrian students from Istanbul University and 46 Syrian students from Karabük University have attended English courses so far, 70-75% have successfully completed the program and received certificates.

Relevance of the development of initiative in its specific context

English training is necessary for Syrian Students in Turkey since numerous university departments teach exclusively in English. A lack of English is the major barrier to refugee students to access and continue education in Turkey.

English skills will also help learners apply for and receive scholarships and access other educational opportunities in Turkey and improve their opportunities for employment where these are available.


HOPES project has a life span of 42 months, with a possibility of extension with a follow-up project, with similar goals and partners. In an institutional sense, the activities conducted within the scope of HOPES all aim at providing a capacity building tool for the stakeholders to ensure the sustainability of the expected outcomes. For HEEAP, a teachers training is provided by British Council, to provide the university the necessary teaching skills and methods to ensure that the academic staff is fully capable of conducting similar trainings after the end of the project. Also through call for proposals, universities, local public administrations and local NGOs are funded for trainings and equipment to improve the capacity of the institutions to better cope with the needs of Syrian refugees as well as host communities, in higher and further education.


HOPES is already implementing HEEAP in RESCUE Project beneficiary countries, in tailoring the courses to the context of each country.

Innovative character

For HEEAP, British Council is using teacher’s trainings for a 100 hour face-to-face English training, as well as an online teaching module that is providing a flexible learning and teaching environment for both the instructors and students. The online tool is considered as a tool to further the classical class-room teaching outcomes, giving the students a chance to practice without any logistic limitations.