A Gender Review in Education, Turkey 2003 (11)


A girl draws the girls’ education campaign logo on the blackboard in her classroom -- the slogan reads “Haydi Kızlar Okula!”

The slogan says it all: “Come on girls, let’s go to school!”.
Photograph by Sinem Akay © UNICEF Turkey 2003

Social Recommendations for Promoting Girls’ Education

School Endolment and Attendance

Problem Areas Before

  • Low literacy rates of mothers;
  • Failure to register children at birth;
  • Low rates of birth registration;
  • Limited access to early childhood education;
  • Insufficient attraction of schools for girls;
  • Failure to enroll girls at school;
  • Late enrolment;

Possible Interventions Before

  • Campaign for birth registration;
  • Advocacy for early childhood education;
  • Upgrading of schools as child-friendly learning environments;
  • Campaigns stressing the correlation between education and national/family welfare;
  • Incentives (scholarships, food and nutrition packs, &c);
  • Provision of basic health services;

Problem Areas After

  • Low school attendance;
  • Low rates of primary school completion;
  • High drop-out rates for girls;
  • Withdrawal of girls, post-puberty, from schools by families;
  • Early marriage of girls;
  • Lack of marriage registration;
  • Lack of hope for secondary education and employment.

Possible Interventions After

  • Incentives based on merit targeted at girls that increase according to retention at school;
  • Campaign for marriage registration;

Possible partners for interventions in favour of school enrolment and attendance would include NGOs; the Ministry of National Education; the Ministry of Health; Local Authorities and television channels.

Attitudes and Practices

Problem Areas

  • Traditional and religious beliefs;
  • Gender stereotypes;
  • Internalised gender roles reproduced by child rearing and curriculum;
  • Gender-differentiated child rearing;
  • Education is seen as being irrelevant or in conflict with the accepted roles of women in society;
  • Early marriage and low status of women in society.

Possible Interventions

  • Media programmes and motivational materials;
  • Introduction of national girls’ enrolment days;
  • Gender sensitivity training for parents and local leaders;
  • Better parenting programmes;
  • Promote community and parental involvement in girls’ education.

Possible partners for interventions to change attitudes and practices would include the Media; the Ministry of National Education; NGOs and Local Authorities.

Economic Recommendations for Promoting Girls’ Education

Cost of Schooling (particularly in gecekondu areas and villages)

Direct Costs

  • School books and supplies;
  • Clothing and shoes;
  • Food and transportation;
  • Families who are unable to meet the cost of schooling for all children prefer to send their boys to school instead of their girls.

Possible Interventions

Incentive programs offering:

  • small scholarships;
  • free meals or nutrition packs;
  • free school supplies;
  • free or subsidised school uniforms, shoes &c…

Indirect Costs

  • Child labour;
  • Opportunity costs;
  • Families cannot afford the loss of income or the labour contribution of their children, especially girls, by sending them to school.

Possible Interventions

  • Anti child labour campaigns;
  • Flexible school timetables;
  • Parent awareness programmes;
  • Promotion of free or subsidised community child care facilities for families with girl students and younger brothers or sisters;
  • Free meals or nutrition packs.

Possible partners for interventions to counteract direct and indirect costs of schooling for low income families would include the Ministry of National Education; NGOs; Local Authorities and the Social Solidarity and Assistance Fund Administration.

Recommendations for Improving the Educational System in Favour of Girls’ Education


Curriculum Development

  • Content of the curriculum;
  • Inappropriate gender-biased content;
  • Inadequate learning materials;
  • Learners are not provided with relevant functional literacy, numeracy and life skills compatible with their age and level of development;
  • Reinforcement of discrimination and gender stereotypes.

Possible Interventions

  • Gender review of quality in education;
  • Gender-sensitive curriculum reform through:
    1. Definition of general competencies in literacy, numeracy and life-skills based learning areas including rights, gender equality, health and nutrition and peace and respect for diversity;
    2. Cleansing and production of gender-sensitive materials that do not reinforce stereotypes;
    3. Gender-sensitive education and training of authors and producers of learning materials;
  • Campaigns for the provision and equitable distribution of supplies.

Possible partners for a gender-sensitive review of the educational system would include the Ministry of National Education and the Directorate General for Status and Problems of Women.

Education Processes

Problem Areas

  • Insufficient pre-service and in service teacher-training (including human rights and gender sensitivity);
  • Vaguely defined learner outcomes and assessment tools;
  • Outdated teaching methodologies and technologies;
  • Inflexible school calendars and timetables;
  • Insufficient application of systematic assessment and follow up;
  • Need for continuous professional development;
  • Learners fail to develop to their full potential;
  • Fewer female teachers;
  • Lack of gender-sensitivity or active discrimination in teaching and learning processes;
  • Gender inequality in outcomes.

Possible Interventions

  • Provision of quality teacher-training programmes;
  • Incentives to use female teachers as role models;
  • Gender sensitive workshops focusing on eliminating disparity and dealing with discrimination;
  • Promotion of participatory approaches to learning;
  • Appropriate curriculum commensurate with needs targeted to vocational and/or professional training in order to secure marketable employment in the future;
  • Partnerships with NGOs and academia for the provision of information and communication technologies software and training especially for girls.

Possible partners for interventions to improve educational processes would include the Ministry of National Education; NGOs and universities.

Laws and Policies

Lack of Enforcement

There is insufficient enforcement of existing laws and policies relating to:

  • Corporal punishment;
  • Child labour;
  • Donations imposed on families by schools in gecekondu areas.

Failure to enforce the law in these areas leads to the increased likelihood of non-enrollment, non-attendance and drop-out of girls from the educational system.

Possible Interventions

  • Strengthening the school-parent partnership;
  • Training for teachers administrators and local officials on their legal obligations and children’s rights;
  • Workshops and information networks to inform parents of their rights and legal support groups for family empowerment against imposed donations;
  • Budgetary allocations of schools should be increased sufficiently to meet need.

Possible partners for interventions to enforce laws and policies in support of the educational process would include the Ministry of National Education; the Ministry of Justice; the Ministry of Labour and NGOs.

Budgetary Allocation

Education Budget

The national budgetary allocation for primary education is insufficient:

  • Insufficient number of teachers;
  • Insufficient number of schools;
  • Schools are difficult to reach;
  • Inadequate physical environment and comfort level of schools;
  • Current expenditures cannot be fully met by schools from annual budgetary allowances which sometimes leads to:
    1. poorly heated classrooms;
    2. overcrowded classrooms;
    3. poor upkeep of premises;
    4. parents’ reluctance to send their daughters to school when they have to make donations.

Possible Interventions

  • Campaigns for wide-scale acceptance of the need for a higher percentage allocated to education from the national budget;
  • Organisations of partnerships for additional financing and meeting of needs of the schools;
  • Legal arrangements to promote voluntary donations such as income tax exemption.

Possible partners for interventions to improve budgetary allocation to the educational system would include the Ministry of Finance; the Ministry of National Education; the Media and NGOs.

Other Recommendations for Promoting Girls’ Education


Social Disruption

  • Natural disasters: floods, earthquakes, &c…
  • Man-made disasters, terrorism, war in neighbouring countries, leading to:
    1. Economic crises;
    2. Rural-urban migration;
  • Increased need for labour contribution of girls;
  • Increased non-enrolment and drop-out rates for girls.

Possible Interventions

  • Provision of psychosocial assistance to increase coping capacity;
  • Promotion of partnerships in order to meet the needs of girl students;
  • Flexible school hours;
  • Assistance during out of school hours.

Possible partners to support girls’ education during times of crisis or natural disaster would include NGOs and the Ministry of National Education.

Gender-based Data Regarding Education

Problem Area

Data on gender issues in education is generally insufficient and/or misaggregated.

Possible Interventions

  • Opinion surveys to identify gender-based data needed;
  • Mechanisms for accuracy appraisals and assessments of gender-based statistics such as cross-checking, random sampling, &c…
  • Electronic storage and retrieval of gender-based statistics.

Possible partners for interventions to improve and build data on gender issues in education would include the Ministry of National Education and the State Institute of Statistics.

Continue to the twelfth part of A Gender Review in Education, Turkey 2003, Bibliography and Reference.

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