UNITE FOR CHILDREN-- UNICEF

Press Centre 2010/04/09: General Information

A new preschool in Ortaköy-Mardin with the contributions of Donor Mualla Edgü!

Photo by Kerim Öncül

09 April 2010, Mardin - A new step has been taken forward under the initiative We are adding preschools launched under the joint coordination of UNICEF National Committee and Preschool Education Directorate General of the Ministry of National Education. Hasan Lami preschool with 4 classrooms opened on April 9th with the contribution of Mualla Edgü will serve around 200 children in the area.

Ages from birth to 6 years constitute the most crucial phase in the life of a child. Education at these ages affects the whole life of the child; enhances learning achievements, encourages further education and helps in socialization as a healthy and productive individual. In Turkey, there is need for many preschool education institutions for children to reap the benefits of preschool education.

Mualla Edgü, who funded the construction of the school building was present in the opening ceremony, accompanied by the following: Mardin Governor Hasan Duruer; Preschool Education Director General Remzi İnanlı; UNICEF Representative Reza Hossaini; UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Ayşe Kulin; Ortaköy Mayor Mehmet Çakmak; Provincial Education Director (OIC) Turan Ateş; other deputy directors; branch directors; principals of secondary schools in the provincial centre, parents and children.

Photo by Didem Akan

The ceremony started with folk dances performed by preschool students at ages 5-6. Delivering a speech at the ceremony, Ortaköy Mayor noted the importance of early education in future years of life. UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador underlined the importance of education in early years: “We are still below European and world averages in preschool education. Unfortunately, only lucky children can benefit from preschool education in Turkey. Investment in preschool education commands significant returns in long-term and each child in the country should be able to reap the benefits of early education.”

Reminding that Mardin for centuries used to be the centre of knowledge and education, UNICEF Representative Reza Hossaini said he regarded initiatives in preschool education as an extension of this tradition. “Esteemed Ms Kulin is UNICEF’s Goodwill Ambassador; but any official, parent or child present here could have the same status by assigning importance and giving support to education.”

Preschool Education Director General Remzi İnanlı said in Mardin there have been significant improvements in preschool education since 2002 and this positive trend would be maintained:”Our objective is to expand and promote preschool education in a way to cover all children in our country.”

Mardin Governor Hasan Duruer pointed that Mardin is the cradle of many civilizations and arts. “Education is from cradle to grave, but we do not read as much as we should. At present, 70% of children in relevant age group are out of preschool education. We will keep working until all children can benefit from this phase of education.”

The UNICEF National Committee in Turkey is recently assigning priority to the construction and endowment of preschool institutions with voluntary contributions of persons and agencies.

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