New Directions in Early Childhood Education in Turkey: ‘’Quality, Access and Equity’’ International Conference has Shed Light for Early Education in Turkey
ANKARA, 20 June 2013 - The Ministry of National Education in Turkey which has conducted profound studies since 2010 for expansion of Early Childhood Education (ECE) in Turkey and increased the quality of services hosted an international conference for sharing international experiences in this area and formation of a platform for quality of ECE services in Turkey.
A number of researches prove that quality interventions in early childhood development decreases the effects of poverty on children, families, women, societies and communuties and quench the inequalities. MoNE, General Directorate of Basic Education is implementing "Strengthening Pre-School Education" project for inclusion of 36-66 months children in early education and for improving quality in ECE. All activities have been supported with an early education communication campaign including social mobilization.
Several important regulations related to ECE services in Turkey including quality standards have been discussed in New Directions In Early Childhood Education in Turkey: "Quality, Access And Equity" International Conferenceon 18-19 June 2013 at Swiss Hotel, Ankara. The highlights of the conference have been the activities on the quality standards of Early Child Education in Turkey along side with international experineces. Moreover, the nation-wide implementation of quality ECE with capacity improvement studies in relevant services, partnerships and alternative models have been presented. The urgent need for official regulations for expanding community based ECE services has been underlined. National and international experts also shared their experiences on revision of pre-school education programme in Turkey and compare it with similar studies in other countries.
Quality Early Childhood Education is the Right of Every Child
The international conference aims to contribute in reinforcement of political determination and cross-sectoral cooperation in improving ECE quality framework for all children on equity basis by providing universal access. Both national and international experts had the opportunity to discuss quality, access and equity in ECE services and to share their experiences.
Mr. Javier Menendez Bonilla, Head of Section in European Union Delegation to Turkey Financial Cooperation, Infrastructural, Social and Regional Projects, underlined that the EU countries increased its target for early childhood education to 95%. He noted that he is very pleased with the increase of pre-school education rate in Turkey in recent years, yet; this example would encourage Turkey for setting ambitious objectives in early childhood education.
"Even though our project finishes in October, it leaves a legacy behind for early childhood education and development in Turkey. Local partners and families will continue to play a key role in pre-school education," stated UNICEF Deputy Representative, Regina De Dominics.
Mrs. Funda Kocabıyık, MoNE Basic Education General Director, emphasized the importance of equity in pre-school education, and noted the importance of early childhood education in the happiness, peace and success of disadvantaged children and its role in enabling these children to create an added value to society.
“In order to reach disadvantaged children, we need to guarantee quality and develop innovative models like community based services,” said UNICEF Regional Office for CEE/CIS Early Childhood Development Advisor, Dr. Deepa Grover.
Decision-makers, local authorities, NGOs, academicians, practitioners, international and national institutions and research institutions also participated in the sessions on the creation of quality framework in ECE and better conditions for ECE practitioners.The international conference has contributed in the sustainability of Strengthening of Pre-School Education Project results and broaden the vision about quality in ECE in Turkey. Strengthening Pre-School Education Project in Turkey
The Project has been implemented by the MoNE Turkey with technical support of UNICEF and financial support of EU since 2010 and it aims to provide quality intitutional and community based ECE for disadvantaged children and families and to strengthen the quality of present services by improving the capacity of MoNE institutions, public institutions, municipalities and NGOs via partnership mechanisms. Within the framework of the project, a communication campaign entitled “3-4-5 Choose Early Education!” (3-4-5 Erken Eğitimi Seç!) has been conducted.