Launch of “Increasing Quality of and Access to Early Childhood Education Services (ECE)” Project

The project will run for three years with a budget of 30M Euros to benefit more than 50,000 children under the age of six.

16 February 2021

ANKARA, 16 February 2021 – The Ministry of National Education, the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services, the European Union and UNICEF announced today the launch of the “Increasing Quality of and Access to Early Childhood Education Services” Project. The project will run for three years with a budget of 30M Euros to benefit more than 50,000 children under the age of six.

H.E. Mrs. Zehra Zümrüt SELÇUK, Minister of Family, Labour and Social Services of the Republic of Turkey, stated that “Childhood is the most important and fragile period which forms a strong base for learning abilities and future development. In this sense, early childhood education is critical for children who are our greatest legacy that we will leave to tomorrows. Early childhood education services (ECES), if used as a social policy instrument, are likely to have an equalizer effect on the society. Evidence indicates that the gains of early childhood education are particularly concentrated on the children of families from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Together with the assistance that we have been providing to ensure that the children of low-income families stay in education such as “Social and Economic Support” (SED), “Conditional Cash Transfer for Education” (CCTE) as well as the provision of education materials through “Social Assistance and Solidarity Funds” (SYDTF); we hope that this project will be one of the important steps towards helping children to reach their full potential with various positive outcomes ranging from cognitive development to earnings in adulthood. All of which are contributors to our very vision: the achievement of a strong and harmonious family, happy and productive individuals and a prosperous society’’.

The ECE project aims to increase the access of all children to early childhood education services and improve the quality of pre-school education. The project focuses on children under six years and their families, especially those living in the most vulnerable communities with limited or no access to ECE services. Teachers, school principals, families and other ECE service providers are also among the main target groups of this project, which aims to strengthen their capacity to provide quality early childhood education services.

Ziya SELÇUK, the Minister of National Education said, “The foundations of a child's identity and personality are laid during early childhood. Early childhood education is very important for us as it is a stage that supports the cognitive, emotional, and motor development of children and that contributes to their lifelong well-being. We know that ensuring interaction among family, school and child's close circle is highly essential in early childhood education.”

Emphasizing that the Ministry of National Education (MoNE) attaches great importance to comprehensive and inclusive projects in the field of early childhood education, Minister SELÇUK noted that the objective of the project, implemented with the co-financing of the European Union and the Republic of Turkey, is in line with the goals set forth in the 2023 Education Vision.

Minister SELÇUK added, “This project will be implemented in 20 provinces. It will not be wrong to say that these 20 provinces represent Turkey in many aspects. Summer kindergartens, mobile teachers, creating playrooms in various centers, establishing playgrounds may all seem to be merely contents that appear on a project document, but each playground, each play box will add color into a child’s life, will change it, will transform it, and will make their smile bigger. Therefore, we can easily say that this project will bring along bigger dreams and goals that go beyond the project itself.”

Stating that the project will be carried out under the coordination of the Directorate General of Basic Education, Minister SELÇUK underlined that this will be an important step in attaining the education goals. Reiterating that the project will last for 3 years and will be implemented in 20 provinces across Turkey, SELÇUK thanked all the project stakeholders, and everyone who has contributed to all the work done.

Ambassador Nikolaus MEYER-LANDRUT, Head of EU Delegation to Turkey, declared “96% of all 4- and 5-years old children across the EU receive early childhood education. It is of the utmost importance for us, because investing in pre-school education and care has high returns in terms of social adaptation of children. It lays the foundations of educational success, social integration, personal development and employability in later stages of life. We are pleased to finance this three year long project with our partners, so that more children in Turkey can have access to quality education at an early age.”

Furthermore, the project will ensure that the regulatory framework is in place to strengthen ECE service provision. An investment case study will provide a comprehensive analysis of the system and capacity gaps in the areas of ECE planning, budgeting, allocation of funds and expenditures. The findings of the study will support the development of effective costing models.

Regina DE DOMINICIS, UNICEF Representative to Turkey, declared “Every child has the right to learn, from preschool onwards. Ensuring that all young children, girls and boys, have access to safe and quality learning which supports development of their cognitive and social skills is a critical investment, not just for children and their families but for a more equitable and productive society in the future. This is what this strategic partnership between the Ministry of National Education, the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services, the EU and UNICEF aims to achieve. Early childhood education for every child”.

The ECE project represents an important milestone to prioritize Early Childhood Education, in line with Turkey’s Education Vision 2023. This will support the ongoing efforts for the systemic reform to include pre-school education as compulsory education and enhance the framework by which the modalities of ECE services are implemented.

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Press Contacts:

  • Sema Hosta, Chief of Communication, UNICEF Turkey, +905336228346, shosta@unicef.org
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Media contacts

Sema Hosta
Chief of Communication
UNICEF in Turkey
Tel: +90 533 622 8346

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