In May, Kiron wrapped up a 3-month Business Marketing Certificate Program (CP) pilot in Istanbul, Turkey. Students and staff alike called the pilot a success, with an 81% retention rate and 95% of retained students successfully graduating the CP.

This pilot, implementing a concurrent blending of offline and online learning opportunities, was different from the typical Kiron model. Refugee student circumstances and educational legislation in Turkey required a distinct intervention; Kiron responded with the CP.

Staff designed the CP hoping to provide students with quick, tangible added value toward their academic and employment goals. The CP segmented the typical Kiron model into shorter pieces, with small victories. CP students were enrolled in two online courses, curated by Kiron, and one offline course that met on Saturdays, taught by Professor İlkay Karaduman of Ayadin University.

Kiron students in Turkey do not receive the same government support as their peers in Germany. One of the main challenges the CP hoped to address was that many Kiron students in Turkey have to work long hours at low-paying jobs: “working and study are not easy, if you study for a course and it has specific deadlines and I’m tired from working all day…”

“Thank you Kiron! You help us now in the first step to be active in this new country and stop the bad luck to follow us. You make this true – thank you all!

Kiron Turkey Student, Online Message, April, 2017

In response, additional offline elements of the CP were curated to best support students. Students attended a workshop series in self-reliance through a partnership with the Maya Foundation and a workshop on navigating the Turkish job market through a partnership with Dutch NGO United Works.

The offline components really built student camaraderie. At the conclusion of Professor Ilkay’s course, one student wrote a message to the others: “The hard work, commitment and dedication we have shown to the offline course let’s offer the same to the online courses. I am impressed with what we have achieved together so far and energise to continue the same trend.”

Over the three months, Kiron Turkey staff leveraged the community building aspects of the program to motivate students. And in the end, it paid off. The CP saw 77% of enrolled students complete two online courses. In the world of MOOCs, that is huge. “Overall both the online and offline courses has [sic] really been exceptional,” wrote one student on a final program evaluation, while another specified that “the courses benefit us in our working life” (translated from Arabic).

All in all, the pilot demonstrated the great potential of projects like the Business Marketing Certificate Program in Istanbul. We would like to congratulate the Turkey team most warmly on this major success. Nevertheless, due to strategic reasons Kiron Global will not continue the certificate program in Turkey. However, irrespective of minimizing our activities in Turkey, all the students who are already studying on our platform from Turkey will still have complete access to the Kiron platform and receive individual support from the global team.

More information about the future outlook and strategic decision can be found here.