A group of tutors at McGill is hoping to provide more Syrian refugees with the opportunity to study in Canada after five of its students were offered scholarships.

The student-based initiative offers one-hour tutoring sessions by Skype to students at Al Salam school for Syrian refugee children in Turkey.

"We've been tutoring them since mid-October and they have improved enormously to the point where they are teaching us English grammar," Phoebe Colby, a McGill student originally from Vancouver, told CBC Montreal's Daybreak.

Phoebe Colby, Victoria Doris, Tony Mistak, Anton Zyngier, Keenan Tanaka

McGill University students hold a meeting via Skype with a teacher at Al Salam school for Syrian refugees in Turkey. (Anita Nowak)

It started with a group of about 15 tutors but it quickly expanded to meet the needs of 10 Syrian refugees in Turkey.

"We're at a steady level and it is sustainable and that has been really exciting to see," Colby said.

The Syrian students are preparing to write the TOEFL exam, which measures ability to use English at the university level, in the hopes of eventually studying at a Canadian university.

"I'm especially proud of the students — they are amazing, they are very dedicated," Colby said.

Online fundraising underway

The group has launched an online fundraising campaign after five students were offered scholarships to attend Concordia University in the coming year.

The recipients plan to team up with their tutors to help other Syrian refugees to learn English and pursue higher education in Montreal.

"They have started making plans with us to join in on what we do here and bring even more of their friends over," Colby said. 

The goal of the fundraising campaign is to provide the means for more refugees to study at Canadian universities.