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Turkish universities set standard by championing child rights in new syllabus

© UNICEF Turkey/2009/Hosta
UNICEF Regional Director Maria Calivis and Professor Ozden Cankaya of Galatasaray University in Turkey celebrate signing a memorandum of understanding on establishment of a child rights syllabus within journalism degree courses.

GENEVA, Switzerland, 9 April 2009 – Six Turkish universities are leading the way in European journalism studies by agreeing to introduce a new child rights syllabus in their degree programmes.

Teaching of the syllabus, which UNICEF has promoted, is scheduled to start this September, following a series of pedagogy seminars between senior representatives of the six universities and the creators of the syllabus at the Dublin Institute of Technology.

The latest pedagogy seminar was held last month in Istanbul, where the Dublin Institute team unveiled a web-based e-learning platform to support the Turkish universities and their students. 

"The rights of children – their right to expression, to have a say in matters affecting them, to have their opinions heard – are all too often either ignored, or unknown in news issues of the day," explained UNICEF's Regional Director for Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, Maria Calivis.

© UNICEF Turkey/2009/Hosta
Representatives of Turkish universities sign their memoranda of understanding with UNICEF Regional Director Maria Calivis (third from left).

"This child rights syllabus will provide young journalists with new tools for their profession, enabling children to be heard and listened to," she added.

Roll-out to more universities planned

A technical team composed of academics from Istanbul, Galatasaray, Gazi, Ankara, Anadolu and Bilgi Universities are working on adapting the syllabus and associated learning materials into the Turkish language.

Those studying the syllabus earn credit points recognized within European Union universities. Already, a second wave of universities in eastern European countries have expressed interest in teaching this child rights syllabus.

During a ceremony held in February at Galatasaray University, Istanbul, representatives signed a memorandum of understanding between each of the universities and UNICEF. Ms. Calivis and UNICEF Representative in Turkey Reza Hossaini attended on the agency's behalf.

The plan is to roll out this syllabus to more universities in both Turkey and other countries in the regions.



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