2007 Turkey: Girls' Education Campaign
Author: Prof. Dr. Yüksel Özden, Lila Pieters
(1) In some provinces of Turkey, significant differences exist between boys and girls participating in education. The Ministry of National Education (MoNE) is responsible for ensuring that all children have equal access to education. Since more boys than girls are enjoying basic education, an intervention to address this problem became necessary.
(2) In recognising the so-called gender gap, the GEC was launched jointly by the UNICEF Executive Director and the Minister of National Education in mid-June 2003. Its objective is to eliminate the gender gap in primary school enrolment and to realise the Millennium Development Goals’ (MDGs) target for achieving gender parity in universal primary education.
(3) Presently, the campaign is entering its second phase of implementation. Under the new Country Programme of Cooperation between the Government of Turkey and UNICEF (2006-2010), this external evaluation represents one of the major evaluation activities. The first phase constitutes one of the most comprehensive campaigns ever launched in the history of Turkish educational system.
(4) The GEC has developed from a very focussed sensitisation campaign in only 10 provinces of Turkey to a nation-wide campaign covering all 81 provinces. This has certainly contributed to “Girls’ Education” becoming a nation-wide issue, and also to providing additional support to the Government’s desire to achieve gender equity as soon as possible. Both UNICEF and the Government of Turkey, particularly the Ministry of National Education, need to be commended on this important achievement.
Purpose/Objectives and Methodology:
(1) The objectives of this evaluation are (i) to determine the extent to which the campaign objectives were achieved; (ii) to analyse the appropriateness of strategies used in the campaign (giving reasons in case of shortfall); and (iii) to serve as a reference guide for future UNICEF programming.
(2) In order to maximise the efficiency of inputs (manpower and time) and outputs (evaluation outcomes, i.e. data) in light of the available time and manpower for the data collection in the provinces, the general approach combines representative sampling by categories and randomisation. The representative sampling underwent two stages, i.e. (i) the sampling of provinces, and (ii) the sampling of locations within the province, thus creating an optimum balance of input-output efficiency. The sampling procedure has been part of a consultative process with the Turkish counterparts.
(3) GEC performance was assessed following the major implementation steps of the Campaign, i.e. from Central level (design and planning of the Campaign) to Provincial and Sub-Provincial level (promotion, organisation, capacity building) and finally down to village level (identification, convincing, follow-up and monitoring).
Findings and Conclusion:
(1) The strength of the campaign lays in its recognition that the low enrolment and low participation of girls is not solely an educational problem, hence the importance attached to inter-agency collaboration. Collaboration, however, with stakeholders outside the education sector to address causes of low enrolment of girls in education is still at a very initial stage. Best practices and lessons learned from campaign implementation may now be used to further build such partnerships and improve inter-Ministerial cooperation. The campaign has also laid the foundation for a decentralised approach to solving the problem of low
girl enrolment and retention, i.e. not one but different interventions each designed to address the specific needs of one distinct target sub-group.
(2) In order to (re-) gain a stronger intervention focus, the country-wide coverage of the Campaign should be concluded.
(3) Any follow-up to the GEC needs to be designed in favour of more tailor-made targeting for specific regions which encounter specific problems with specific target groups (i.e. Roma populations in Ýzmir). This includes a contextualisation of the GEC at sub-province or even village level, thus enhancing relevance for diverse socio-political and socio-economic environments. More specific provincial analyses, based on collected data, could be the starting point for designing bottom-up and needs-based community development strategies. Such strategies need to continue to have a gender equity focus and may go beyond the mere education sector, also addressing, inter alia, the need for creating employment opportunities or environmental issues (health, sanitation).
(4) There is a need to lobby for structural change wherever such change is needed to improve girls’ enrolment, well knowing that implementing change needs to be under the responsibilities of the Government. In (re-)designing the project from a gender perspective, lobbying for addressing structural and practical gender needs has to form part of the project’s objectives, including the establishment of catch-up classes for over-aged girls, vocational training programmes, or functional literacy programmes for girls and women.
(5) Quality issues of and in education represent an important topic also within a gender context, particularly since many families who are facing problems sending their children (especially girls) to school also seem to be concerned about the low educational quality, mainly in village schools. Within a greater child-friendly schools orientation, the development of strategies for changing teacher recruitment and deployment practices may help to solve this problem. Areas to focus on could include, inter alia, (i) the relation between creating child-friendly schools and changing teacher recruitment practices; (ii) the
identification and recruitment of teachers coming from the same community/area and being willing to maintain residence there; and (iii) the linking of such change in policy and political thinking to the wider concept of creating and strengthening creating child-friendly schools.
(1) It is recommended to consider turning the Campaign into a specific Project under the Child Friendly Schools umbrella. In the opinion of this mission, the Campaign has been successful in making a valuable contribution, and has likewise reached the point for making an important new directional shift. It is further recommended for UNICEF and all stakeholders to enter into a detailed planning exercise for such a new phase, including the development of planning tools such as a logical framework with related milestones and indicators.
(2) As a concrete follow-up to this report, a two-pronged approach is recommended. Firstly, key problems beyond the education sector need to be identified which may initiate possible approaches for structural change. This report, based on the contributions received from the data collectors, has already provided an important initial analysis in this regard. Such bottom-up identification process needs to be done in close consultation with the communities.
(3) Secondly, it is recommended to conduct a detailed participatory planning workshop for the second phase of the campaign which will be based on the results gathered during community consultations. The workshop will endorse a detailed bottom-up approach for addressing specific areas of targeted intervention. While developing a complete logframe for the second phase, objectives, results and activities will be agreed upon, together with the identification of indicators and milestones. Such workshop can also be utilised to generate trust and a sense of cooperation through the inclusion of relevant stakeholders.
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