As Istanbul attracts more and more people from Arabic-speaking countries, we are also witnessing the rising popularity of the city's educational institutes among Arab students. From primary to higher levels of education, Istanbul's growing number of public and private universities, as well as primary and secondary schools are making the city a major education hub for students from the Arab World.
Even before 2 million Syrians started living in Turkey, Turkish universities had started to attract a growing number of Arab students. A total of 49 public and private universities in Istanbul have seen enrollment of thousands of students from countries like Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Morocco and Libya. Although the number of students is still low compared to that of people buying real estate in Istanbul or visiting the city for tourism, big changes are happening. In 2014, Turkey and Arab States have announced cooperation for higher education. Encouraging joint academic programs, student and academic exchanges as well as scientific and educational meetings, the plan that was agreed upon by 22 Arab states and Turkey is currently being implemented.
Public Universities in Istanbul
Currently, there are 9 public universities in Istanbul, most of which rank among the county's top educational institutes. Istanbul University is Turkey's oldest university with multiple campuses and buildings spread around various neighborhoods like Avcılar, Bahçeköy, Bakırköy, Beyazıt, Büyükçekmece, Cerrahpaşa, Çapa, Horhor, Kadıköy, Laleli, Şişli, Vefa, Vezneciler. Then, there is the famous Boğaziçi University in Bebek, nested among the most valuable luxury villas in Istanbul with a spectacular view of the Bosphorus. Galatasaray University, Istanbul Technical University, Marmara University, Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts, Yıldız Technical University, Medeniyet University, Turkish-German University are other important educational institutions of Istanbul, attracting thousands of local and international students each year. Some of them have really old, historical buildings and campuses and they are well respected, both nationally and globally.
Private Universities in Istanbul
There are currently 40 private universities in Istanbul. They are also known as foundation universities, because various foundations support them. The most famous of these are: Sabancı University, Koç University, Bilgi University, Bahçeşehir University, Kadir Has University and Yeditepe University. Some of these 40 universities are spread around newly developing areas that are far from the city center. These areas are becoming increasingly popular among those planning to buy real estate to invest in Istanbul as well as families escaping the busy centers to find peace and tranquility in newly forming suburban zones. The construction of universities seems to be going hand in hand with the current boom in Turkish property market as educational institutes make newly developed areas thrive, bringing many students, businesses and the biggest wave of property investment Istanbul has ever seen.
Other Educational Institutions
From tens of newly opened schools in neighborhoods like Başakşehir, Eyüp, Fatih and Bağcılar to the Syrian Canadian School in Esenler, there are an estimated 60 schools specifically addressing the needs of Arabic-speaking students. These are mostly founded by investors from Iraq, Jordan and Syria in zones that are considered as the rising stars of the Turkish real estate market. There are schools with smart boards and computers, providing modern educational facilities applying the Jordanian, Syrian, Libyan or Iraqi education systems. Al Fayez International Schools in Bağcılar has a mixed student population from countries like Iraq, Syria, Libya, Jordan, Algeria, Egypt and Turkey.