This policy brief is attempting to identify possible key performance indicators (KPI) for measuring refugee integration policies in host countries. Accordingly, the identified KPIs, therefore, must be as easily indigenized by the broad public as possible. This Policy Brief seeks to draw upon the positive correlation observed between the refugees’ schooling rates and overall integration. Moreover, the findings could also prove to be a tool to evaluate the realization levels of objectively agreeable targets set both for the fairness and the effectiveness of the support provided to refugees.
Measuring levels of integration in refugees through indicators is a fairly new initative. Mostly utilized in the private sector, using KPIs for measuring the success rate of specific targets, in this case integration policies and the rate of integration of refugees, therefore poses obstacles due to its uncharted nature. Furthermore, as policies and situations differ from country to country, the required case-specific approach to measuring policy success rates through KPIs also pose a problem. This policy brief, therefore, while aimed at identifying specific KPI(s) to measure integration in Turkey in accordance with its country-specific rules, regulations and public policies on irregular migration, is attempting to take a step forward to determining indicators applicable to all refugee hosting countries.
Furthermore, as evident in the field studies, country specific parameters are in place and, to some extent, working. However, the quantitative approach adopted until now does not employ the right assesment tools to measure integration, therefore pointing to a need for a qualitative approach. In turn, accurate measurements of policy outcomes, which in this case is the share of refugee children enrolled in schools at each country due to its legal requirements with regards to documentation, could prove useful.
As will be mentioned moving forward, certain attempts have been made by the European Union to find ways to measure the levels of integration in migrants, yet this Policy Brief draws attention to the lack of similar KPIs to measure the integration of refugees. In other words, similar policies between countries for integrating regular migrants are evident, yet a similar statement cannot be asserted for policies aimed at refugee integration. Correspondingly, the challenge here lies with finding country specific KPI(s) for Turkey and, to further the argument, identfiying pathways that could have KPI applicability at a larger sample of countries.
A multifaceted issue with potential national, regional and international dimensions, migration, whether regular or irregular, has consistently been drawing the attention of all actors. Commenced with pressing security concerns because of irregular migration, the international and national levels of focus have shifted to social integration and cohesion, as it increasingly understood that origin and destination countries are not the only ones affected by migration. Accordingly, when integration is not ensured properly, false policies can lead to crime, injustice, unhappiness and, even, international terror.
According to Global Issues Report, there are over 190 million migrants in the world and approximately 65.6 million of whom are considered forcibly displaced or refugees. These numbers comprise the highest levels ever recorded, leaving us with a vital situation than ever recorded since the Second World War. Among the 65.6 million people, nearly 22.5 million are refugees of which 51 percent are under the age of 18. UNHCR reports that a total of 3.5 million refuge children were not able to attend school in 2016 and while the global rate of primary school enrollment for children stand at 91 percent, the same rate equals to 61 percent among these refugee children. When evaluating secondary school enrollment, the rate is only 23 percent for refugee children while it is 84 percent globally. These low rates of enrollment for refugee children in, both, primary and secondary schools are bound to produce negative effects and, hinder the success of integration policies.
To deepen the analysis, as an outcome of its geographic proximity to the turbulent region, Turkey has become one of the most important destinations for the migratory influx from the MENA region. Accordingly, Turkey has done an exemplary job at registering a large majority of the forcibly displaced Syrians coming over its borders, and as a result became the country with the most registered refugees among host countries. With regards, there are over 3.5 million Syrian refugees in Turkey under the legal status ‘guests under temporary protection’ because of its signatory status to the 1951 Refugee Convention. In relation, following the moderation in influx, Turkey has been eager in developing improved policies, such as the Law on Foreigners and International Protection, to respond to the expectations set by the public as well as the international actors.
In Turkey, 27 percent of 3.5 million Syrians are at primary school age (between 0-9 ages). Of this group, only 65 percent, which comprises approximately 1 million people, are enrolled in schools. Turkey is working ambitiously towards improving this ratio by developing new projects and applications aimed at improving educational systems whether in relation to accessibility, quality or capacity. These could be further utilized to implement new projects relevant to the recommendations provided in this policy brief.
Going back to KPIs, it would be useful to use short-term targets that spread throughout the process to investigate the integration process’ progress, whether negative or positive. The objective of this note is to consider possible KPIs for measuring refugee integration policies in host countries. Correspondingly, the identified KPIs, therefore, must be as simple as easily recognizable by the broad public as possible.
Effective KPIs for the successful measurement of refugees’ integration policies
To further the objective, we recommend focusing on policy outcomes that are effectively measurable rather than inputs to make accurate assessments on the performance of refugee integration policies. Keeping this in mind, it is important to note that the targeted discovery of a link between KPIs and the fairness and effectiveness measures must be carried-out separately. Similar to an academic study, this would allow for the documentation of policy outcome measures that are fair and effective, and provide a platform for discussing national progress, annually. This would obviously constitute the second phase, after estimating and agreeing on a particular group of KPIs.
Getting into School
Our primary suggestion for a KPI is ‘the share of refugee children enrolled in schools at each country’. The reason behind this lies with the obligatory legal processes that require Syrian children in Turkey to have an identity card showing their ‘guest status’ as well as a permanent address in order to be enrolled in schools.
To place it on a framework, in Turkey, for example, around 65 percent of Syrian refugee children are already in schools.
Keeping this in mind, we can use the following equation:
Sr,c= Xc,k/Xc for ∃ c (1)
Sd,c= Yc,k/Yc for ∃ c (2)
Xc,k: The number of refugee children enrolled in school in country c
Yc,k: The number of local children enrolled in school in country c
Xc: The number of refugee children in country c
Yc: The number of local children in country c
Sr,c: The share of the refugee children enrolled in school in country c
Sd,c: The share of the local children enrolled in school in county c
KPI1 = Sr,c/Sd,c (3)
(i) If the KPI1 is higher than 1, it means the share of refugee children enrolled in schools is higher than the enrollment levels of locals – which is an outcome with a very low probability yet may lead to social cohesion protests –
(ii) If the KPI1 is equal or close to 1, it means the share of refugee children enrolled in schools is the same as the locals and the education policy of the country in question is equally inclusive and the refugee policies are effective
(iii) If the KPI1 is lower than 1, it means the share of refugee children enrolled in schools is lower than the share of locals. In this case we need policy intervention to bridge the gap.
In relation to the last point, as the share of Syrian children enrolled in schools is 65 percent whereas the share of the local children enrolled in schools is 90 percent and KPI1 for Turkey is calculated as 0.72. This means there is room for further improvement in policies aimed at increasing the rate of Syrian children enrollment closer to the levels of the locals.
To deduct further, the relative performance of every country could be measured by comparing the share of refugee children enrolled in schools in every age cohort with the share of their local peers through the following equation:
Sr,c,a = Xc,k,α/Xc,α for ∃ c and ∀ α (4)
Sd,c,a= Yc,k,α/Yc,α for ∃ c and ∀ α (5)
Xc,k,α= The number of refugee children enrolled in school at age cohort α in country c
Yc,k,α= The number of local children enrolled in school at age cohort α in country c
Xc,α= The number of refugee children at age cohort α in country c
Yc,α= The number of local children at age cohort α in country c
Sr,c,a: The share of refugee children enrolled in school at a specific age cohort α
Sd,c,a: The share of local children enrolled in school at a specific age cohort α
KPI2 = Sr,c,a/Sd,c,a (6)
The difference between KPI1 and KPI2 is the age cohort parameter in the latter. KPI2 would act as a lense to zoom in on enrollment rates at primary, junior-high, and secondary education levels for yearly assessments.
(i) If the KPI2 is higher than 1, it means the share of refugee children belonging to a specific age cohort enrolled in schools is higher than the enrollment levels of locals of the same age cohort– which is an outcome with a very low probability.
(ii) If the KPI2 is equal or close to 1, it means the share of refugee children belonging to a specifc age cohort enrolled in schools is the same as the locals and the education policy of an addressed country is equally inclusive.
(iii) If the KPI2 is lower than 1, it means the share of refugee children belonging to a specific age cohort enrolled in schools is lower than the locals. In this case we need intervention measures aimed at increasing the rate of schooling for that specific age cohort of refugee children in order to bridge the gap.
In Turkey, for example, the enrollment rate of Syrians tends to be lower in the secondary education level compared to the first two levels. Anecdotal evidence suggests that there is a negative correlation between children dropping out from schools and finding employment to survive. In this regard, advocacy for vocational high schools could act as an attraction for skills development expected to enter the labor market.
By following this path, estimates can be carried out for every refugee-hosting country and create a tool for measuring effectiveness. To elaborate, the reasons why a KPI for schooling is suggested depends heavily on the complicated process the children have to go through in order enroll in these schools. As mentioned before, children are required to have legal identity cards and a permanent address. In turn, aside from measuring direct outcomes, these requirements could also be utilized as a tool for the overall measurement of the resettlement of refugees in host countries. It is true that refugees were on the move before, but now the child and his/her family need to have a permanent address, just like the locals, to be enrolled to attend school.
In order for this KPI to be put into practice, stakeholders must act swiftly to (a) define the process for enrolling refugee children in the national schooling systems of different host countries and (b) identify these percentages in a group of refugee hosting-countries. Additionally, next steps could comprise of an effectiveness analysis where all the aid distributed to enroll more children in schools can be put to analysis. Another option would be to conduct a research comparing the expenditure of governments on activities promoting and contributing to enrolling more children in schools. To calculate the effectiveness of a government’s expenditure, the type of aid the analysis will concentrate on must be decided.
As an example, Equation 9 can be utilized where the effectiveness of a country’s expenditure aimed at the integration of the refugee children school enrollment rate can be measured by comparing the previous year(s).
Ec,r = Xc,k*Cr/(Xc,k*Cr)+(Yc,k*Cd ) (7)
KPI3= KPI1i – KPI1i-1 (8)
εc= Ec,r*KPI3 (9)
εc=Effectiveness of country c
KPI1i: KPI1 for period i
KPI1i-1: KPI1 for period i-1
Ec,r: Share of expenditure for refugee children enrolled in school
Cr: Total expenditure for each refugee children enrolled in school
Cd: Total expenditure for each local children enrolled in school
C= expenditure for both groups (λ*accommodation aid) + (μ*stationery aid ) + (β*food aid) + (δ*transportation aid) + (η*psychological support)+…
(λ, μ, β, δ and η are the importance (weights) of the aid types
PISA Tests for Refugee Children to assess quality of education
The above indicator is quantitative and one that Turkey would probably rank high. However, at T20, in terms of a qualitative analysis, we can also propose to work together with the OECD to conduct customized PISA tests for refugee children. In case this materializes in pilot countries of our choosing and, if the PISA performances of refugee and local children are comparable, then a strengthened assessment of the fairness of support in each host country would also become a possibility. To elaborate, as the refugee influx is at its seventh year and, countries have naturalized some percentage of asylum seeking children into its educational system, there exists a focus group to be studied. In Turkey, for example, the Project PICTAS (Promoting Integration of Syrian Children into the Turkish Education System) aimed at teaching language skills and catch-up training as well as back-up training to both teachers and students could provide the necessary capacity to implement such a big-scale initiative.
However, if the G20 proceeds with the first suggestion, funding could become possible for a bigger endeavor of this kind. Accordingly, ideas like a targeted increase in the number of enrolled refugee children to the number of local children or a targeted increase of 25 percent (or whatever the discrepancy between the two currently is – as that is what is needed to be pressed on with, finding KPI figures for each country) could prove to be a good angle to improve fairness and effectiveness.
Applicability of KPIs to different cases
As the KPI proposed can only be implemented in Turkey it is important to note the willingness to find KPIs that are applicable to a group of refugee hosting countries as well. Correspondingly, there have been documents published aimed at tackling the same issue of measurability of integration. Accordingly, reports such as the Council of Europe document titled ‘Measurement and Indicators of Integration’ or a more recent study by Eurostat titled ‘Indicators of Immigrant Integration’ are leading the way in tackling on how to accurately measure levels of integration. However, the difference between regular migration (i.e. labor migrant) and irregular migration (i.e. asylum seekers and refugees) must be reminded here, as the policies created and implemented for integration differ in both cases.
As a result, below is a list of integration indicators that may be considered as KPIs;
- Employment – Employment rate, Unemployment rate
- Education – Highest educational attainment (share of population with tertiary, secondary, and primary or less than primary education), Share of low-achieving 15-year-olds in reading, mathematics and science
- Social inclusion – Median net income comparison, At risk of poverty rate, Ratio of property owners to non-property owners among immigrants and the total population
- Active citizenship – Share of immigrants that have acquired citizenship, Share of immigrants holding permanent or long-term residence permits, Share of immigrants among elected representatives
Additionally, other indicators have been promoted by the European Union under the Zaragoza Declaration, titled ‘Zaragoza Integration Indicators’, which finds its basis on the ‘Common Basic Principles. This could also offer insight into finding applicable KPIs for a group of relevant countries. These are listed as; Share of employees who are overqualified for their jobs, self-employment, language skills, experiences of discrimination, trust in public institutions, voter turnout among the population entitled to vote, and sense of belonging.
Going back to the main argument, the proposed framework on using enrollment in schools as a KPI is more viable and achievable than focusing on a comparison of income flows of refugees and locals. In the context of schooling, benefit and cost comparisons would also be easier to undertake. In other words, cost of enrolling one refugee child in a school could be assessed much easier. The question then becomes; could a KPI on schooling be utilized in denoting the effective integration of refugee families? At this stage, the process of registration in a school, documents to do so, as well as the analysis of this process is of vital importance. In the Turkish case, if a refugee child is able to enroll in a school, taking all the necessary documentation into account, this would, in turn, mean that the child and her/his family are fairly settled in Turkey.
 The UN Refugee Agency
 UNHCR, Education, http://www.unhcr.org/education.html
 The UN Refugee Agency
 Republic of Turkey Ministry of Interior Directorate General of Migration Management
 Refugee Rights Sub Commission of the Human Rights Inquiry Committee of Grand National Assembly of Turkey, Report on Migration and Integration, 2018
 As of 31 October 2017, 312,151 children have received Turkish language training by 5,486 Turkish language teachers employed under the project. 10,085 out-of-school Syrian children received catch-up training to facilitate their entry into school and 43,388 students are benefiting from on-going back-up training…“
 Council of Europe, Measurement and Indicators of Integration, 1997
 Eurostat, Indicators of Immigrant Integration, 2011
 European Ministerial Conference on Integratıon, Zaragoza Declaration, 2010
 Council of European Union Justice and Home Affairs, The Common Basic Principles for Immigrant Integration Policy in the EU, 2004
- UNHCR, Global Trends: Forced Displacement in 2015, 2016
- Republic of Turkey Ministry of Interior Directorate General of Migration Management
- Refugee Rights Sub Commission of the Human Rights Inquiry Committee of Grand National Assembly of Turkey, Report on Migration and Integration, 2018
- The UN Refugee Agency
- Republic of Turkey Ministy of Education, Promoting Integration of Syrian Children into Turkish Education System, 2016
Promoting Integration of Syrian Children into Turkish Education System
- European Commission, Second Annual Report on the Facility for Refugees in Turkey, Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council, 2018
- Council of Europe, Measurement and Indicators of Integration, 1997
- Eurostat, Indicators of Immigrant Integration, 2011
- European Ministerial Conference on Integratıon, Zaragoza Declaration, 2010
- Council of European Union Justice and Home Affairs, The Common Basic Principles for Immigrant Integration Policy in the EU, 2004