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One in every eight girls out of school in Turkey

VAN, TURKEY, 17 June 2003 - One in every eight girls is out of school in Turkey on the eve of the launch of a major new campaign to get girls back into the classroom. The Advocacy Campaign for Girls' Education launched by UNICEF and The Turkish Ministry of National Education today aims to have every girl in school by 2005.

Launching the campaign in the eastern Turkish Province of Van, UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy said, “Education is the right of all children. Fulfilling the right of every girl to a quality basic education is the key to promoting true equality between boys and girls and men and women. Turkey can make no better investment in preparing for the European Union than investing in education ”

The campaign will begin in 10 provinces this year before expanding to 40 more by the end of 2005. Local authorities will back the campaign by promoting the benefits of girls' education to families and communities.

“We don’t want to waste half of our human resources for lack of education” says minister Huseyin Celik. “We should make the message clear everywhere that education is for all. It can not be a privilege conferred on specific groups.”

The theme of girls' education harmonizes with the new drive launched in Istanbul earlier this week, Leave No Child Out. It envisions a world in which no child is discriminated against or excluded, like 120 million children around the world who are not in school, the majority of them girls.

The Girls' Education Campaign is part of ’25 by 2005’ an intensive effort in 25 countries to get as many girls as boys into school by 2005. Every year a girl spends in school is a step towards eliminating poverty, advancing human development and promoting gender equality. The benefits of educating girls are passed from one generation to the next. Educated girls become educated mothers, which means lower child mortality, better nourished and healthier children and economic growth.

For more information please contact:

Sema Hosta 0 533 413 91 16
Nilgun Atalay 0 532 367 27 01





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