Education opportunity was given to 12.000 children who were not able to benefit from qualified early childhood education because of financial imposibilities. In 80 provinces, 23.000 teachers attended to current “Preschool Education Programme Implementer Education”.
While aiming to increase awareness in both authorities and families with communication campaign, at the same time, “A Child is in Preschool Education with TL 25 A Month” donation incentive campaign was conducted. At the beginning of project, it was aimed to include 3000 children, who live in difficult conditions, to free education, then, at the end of the project, the number of children who benefited from donation incentive exceeded 11000.
Equipment, education material and furniture support were provided to preschool education classrooms of elementary schools in 32 pilot provinces. 90 preschools- 399 classrooms benefited from this component. In addition, total 75 projects were entitled for donation in 38 of 81 cities.
Within the context of “3,4,5, Choose Early Education” project, conducted in 10 pilot provinces of Turkey (Adana, Ağrı, Ankara, Diyarbakır, Erzurum, Hatay, İzmir, Mersin, Şanlıurfa, Van), the preschool education curriculum was renewed and met the European Union standards.
Alternative education methods were developed for children who can not access to formal education. Increasing the numbers of day care and preschool education institutions with flexible working hours were supported in cooperation with NGOs, private sector and public institutions. During the project, enrolment rate in preschool education increased from 38 % to 64 % in Turkey. In virtue of project attainment, it is aimed to increase this rate to 100 % in the following years.
As only some of the attainments above mentioned “Strenghtening Preschool Education Project” started on 12 March 2010, was implemented by the Ministry of National Education with the technical assistance of UNICEF and financial assistance of the European Union.
Today, It ended with the closing ceremiony with the participation of Minister of National Education Prof. Dr. Nabi Avcı. Minister Avcı mentioned that the closing ceremony should not be seen as an end but should be as a platform of sharing experiences which will strengthen preschool education. UNICEF Turkey Representative Dr. Ayman Abulaban emphasized the importance of the new developed approaches in day care and their implementation of innovations.
Basic Education General Director Funda Kocabıyık, Prime Ministry Undersecretariat of Treasury, Central Finance and Contracts Unit President Muhsin Altun, Deputy Undersecretary of Ministry of National Education Salih Çelik, Deputy Head of European Union Delegation to Turkey Béla Szombati were also other participants of the closing ceremony.
During the meeting, some of the success stories of the project were presented. Preschool children attended the meeting and had their pictures taken with Minister Avcı and got their presents from him.
The project took off 3,5 years ago with an intensive tempo in whole Turkey to increase the access of especially disadvantaged children to preschool education and day care services.
The importance of preschool education for Turkey
In 2015, It is expected that 1/3 of Turkey’s population will be under the age of 15. Any kind of investment to this aged human resource will not only cause positive changes in the lives of disadvantaged children but also contributes a lot to national economy in the long term.