Press Centre 2009/09/24: General Information

Prof. Dr. Besim Üstünel Independent Preschool opened in Istanbul Silivri

Istanbul – Besim and Gülen Üstünel’s dream of sharing their personal wealth with children has finally come true last week. The Besim Üstünel Preschool, with contributions from the Minisry of National Education and UNICEF Turkey, was opened in Silivri.

Prof. Besim and Gülen Üstünel with children in the opening ceremony

Just one hour away from Istanbul, the Besim Üstünel Preschool, consisting of 5 classrooms, a principal’s room, a teacher’s room, a kitchen, study areas, and a big garden, is located in a beautiful environment and has the capacity to serve 200 children daily.

The opening ceremony took place with the attendance of many guests, including Silivri district governor, mayor, philanthropic citizens, Ministry of National Education Directorate of Preschool Education General Director Remzi İnanlı and the UNICEF National Committee President Prof. Dr. Talat Halman.

In his opening speech, Prof. Üstünel underlined the strong link between education and development and said “countries like India, China have taken the necessary steps for the information age through investments in education. We also need to define our route through education, and focus our energies on bringing up new generations enlightened by education, without stopping at all in mid stations if necessary.”

UNICEF National Committee President Prof. Dr. Talat Halman in the opening ceremony

After thanking the Üstünel couple for their exemplary act and contributions, UNICEF National Committee president Prof. Halman said “While all the children in the European Union countries were attending preschool in the year 2000, Turkey’s preschool attendance rate was only three percent. In 2009, that attendance rates have increased to 39 percent which is an important improvement. Our goal should be making the preschool attendance rate 100 percent in the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Turkish Republic.”

The Ministry of National Education Directorate of Preschool Education General Director Remzi İnanlı emphasized the importance of preschool education in his speech and said “when some hear the word preschool they think – little investment for little people – but in fact, investing in preschools is the largest investment. The most important years in a child’s life are the ages between 0-6. The education received during these years impacts one’s whole life, increase education gains, influence one’s willingness to continue education positively, and help individuals become healthy, productive members of the society.” At the end of his speech, İnanlı stressed the need for many preschool institutions and other philanthropic citizens and organizations willing to support initiatives in collaboration with the UNICEF National Committee.

Ministry of National Education Directorate of Preschool Education General D irector Remzi İnanlı with Prof. Besim and Gülen Üstünel.

UNICEF National Committee has been focusing on the building and equipping of Preschool Intuitions for the last two years.

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