Say Yes, Summer 2003: Go Girls!

A schoolgirl attending secondary education in Ankara, Summer 2003

Where would I be without an education? I’m not sure I’d be able to speak up for myself.
Photograph by Rana Mullan
© UNICEF Turkey 2003

In Turkey, the Leave No Child Out campaign will focus on the participation of the private and public sectors, the media, NGOs, the Government and, of course, the children themselves in the girls’ education campaign.

Turkey is one of twenty-five countries which UNICEF has earmarked for accelerated action in the world-wide drive to close the gender gap in education. Gender disparities in the Turkish education system are significant especially in the rural parts of the southeastern Anatollia and low-income families settled in the urban centres.

Haydi Kızlar Okula! -- the girls’ education campaign -- supports the provision of quality education for all children by focusing on girls as the largest single group of children who are discriminated against in the denial of their right to an education and equality with boys.

With the support of UNICEF, the Ministry of National Education (MONE) plans to increase access for girls and improve the quality of education on offer.

By the end of 2005, Haydi Kızlar Okula! aims to achieve parity in enrolment rates between girls and boys in fifty provinces where the schooling rates for girls are currently lowest.

The launch of Haydi Kızlar Okula! will take place in Van, one of the most beautiful and characteristic provinces of the Turkish homelands where the issue of girls’ education is a significant problem. UNICEF Executive Director, Carol Bellamy will have informal discussions with local girls and their families about their views on the way forward for girls’ education.

A schoolgirl attending secondary education in Ankara, Summer 2003

We all need school -- not just some of us whose parents are lucky enough to afford it or who don’t need their children to work.
Photograph by Rana Mullan
© UNICEF Turkey 2003

Along with the Minister of National Education, Dr Hüseyin Çelik, himself a native of Gürpınar in the province, and the Governor of Van, Mr Hikmet Tan, Ms Bellamy will introduce the campaign and ‘light the flame’ which will grow into a blaze of education reform over the next two years.

MONE and UNICEF see the issue of getting every girl into school as a core development issue, a step towards eliminating poverty and advancing sustainable human development which has been held back for too long in many countries worldwide by the failure to educate girl children especially. The promotion of gender equality is the basic element of the campaign which will have the knock-on effect of giving Turkish women a higher profile and a stronger say in the evolution of our society.

Every day spent outside of a school is a tremendous loss not only for the girl but for the future of her country, said Carol Bellamy in May. These girls simply cannot afford to wait any longer.

UNICEF Executive Director, Carol Bellamy visited Turkey for the launch of the Girls’ Education campaign in the province of Van. Read her opening speech in the UNICEF Turkey Press Centre.

Minister of Education, Dr Hüseyin Çelik spoke to UNICEF Turkey on the subject of girls’ education in this issue of Say Yes.

Read Back to School in the Autumn, 2002, edition of Say Yes.

For more information please contact:

Sema Hosta, UNICEF Ankara:
(+90) 312 454 10 10
Mobile 0533 622 83 46

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