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The Girls Education Campaign In Turkey - Brochure

‘Haydi Kizlar Okula’ — the girls’ education campaign as it is known in Turkey — was launched by UNICEF Executive Director, Carol Bellamy and the Turkish Minister of National Education, Hüseyin Çelik, in mid-June 2003. Generally, the results in this first year exceeded expectations and a strong platform has been built to achieve much better results in 2004. A new and positive trend emerged during the year with increased interest among the private sector in funding UNICEF programmes — particularly ‘Haydi Kizlar Okula’.
‘Haydi Kizlar Okula’ — the girls’ education campaign as it is known in Turkey — was launched by UNICEF Executive Director, Carol Bellamy and the Turkish Minister of National Education, Hüseyin Çelik, in mid-June 2003. Generally, the results in this first year exceeded expectations and a strong platform has been built to achieve much better results in 2004. A new and positive trend emerged during the year with increased interest among the private sector in funding UNICEF programmes — particularly ‘Haydi Kizlar Okula’.
 
Children, especially girls, are often kept at home from school because parents need their labour in the household or on the land. Themselves illiterate, or with only a few years of education, parents sometimes do not see any value in sending their daughters to school. Traditionally girls’ education is not seen as important. On the other hand, as numbers have thinned in rural areas, the per capita cost of keeping schools open has risen. As part of the solution, bussing has been introduced to take children from dispersed villages to schools in more populated areas. However, this is causing problems in some places where tradition-bound parents often keep their puberty-age girls at home rather than allow them to share busses with boys. This contributes to a high drop-out rate for girls.
 
The campaign focused on informing and mobilising provincial and district level officials in the various ministries, including Interior, Education, Religious Affairs, Health, Agriculture and the Social Services and Child Protection Agency. National and local level media — both print and electronic — were also enlisted for the campaign. Celebrities were signed up to give supportive messages through TV spots. Results So Far Achieved:The figures from the 10 priority provinces in 2003 show mixed results. The best province, Siirt, showed an increase of 19% in girls’ enrolment over last year. The next two provinces, Van and Mus, had increases of 11.6% and 6.7% respectively. The overall increases in the other provinces were disappointing. However, on closer scrutiny of the figures, one notices a very significant increase in the enrolment of girls in grades one and six. In Siirt, the jump in girls’ enrolment in grade one was a remarkable 57% and girls now outnumber boys in grade one there. Sirnak province had a 23% jump in grade one, Van 16% and Mus 13.5%. Even the worst performer had a 4.8% increase in grade one girls. In grade six, the five best performing provinces had increases of 46%, 31%, 20%, 18% and 13%. While the significance of this has still to be fully analysed, it probably indicates that parents are ready to start their daughters off at school when they reach the age of 6. Keeping the girls at school will thus be a challenge. The spike in grade six may be the result of parents sending girls back to school to complete the final three years of primary.
UNICEF Turkey Country Office, Yukarı Dikmen Mah. Alexsander Dubçek Cd. 7/106, 06450 Çankaya/Ankara. Telephone: +90 312 454 1000 Fax: +90 312 496 1461 E-mail: ankara@unicef.org