Istanbul, 12 May 2022 – An inaugural ceremony took place today in Istanbul to launch container kindergarten classrooms installed under the “Increasing Quality of and Access to Early Childhood Education Project”, implemented in cooperation by the Ministry of National Education and UNICEF, and co-funded by the European Union and the Republic of Türkiye. As part of the project, 300 containers with 600 pre-school classrooms will be installed to support schools that especially need physical space, enabling 30,000 children to access early childhood education services every year.
57 percent of 5-year-olds are enrolled in preschools in Türkiye according to the National Education Statistics data for 2020-2021 school year. As stated in the 11th Development Plan of the Presidency, it is among the priorities of the Ministry of National Education that every child receives at least one year of early childhood education before starting primary school.
The Ministry of National Education is the beneficiary of the Increasing Quality of and Access to Early Childhood Education Project, co-funded by the European Union and the Republic of Türkiye. The Department of EU Financial Assistance under the Ministry of Labour and Social Security acts as the Contracting Authority and UNICEF offers technical support. The project aims to ensure that all children, especially the most disadvantaged, have access to early childhood education services. It will also contribute to updating preschool education programmes and improving resources for preschool education. Additionally, teacher trainings will be organized to strengthen the quality of preschool education. Developed with alternative and flexible-time early childhood education models in mind, 5000 toy boxes, 500 summer kindergarten education sets, and 1500 mobile teacher education sets, will be provided under the project.
Head of EU Delegation, Ambassador Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut: “I believe in power of inclusive early childhood education to transform societies for good. We need to invest in quality education, and while doing it we should not leave any children behind. This project will increase resilience of Türkiye’s early childhood education system, and we are pleased to support Türkiye in this endeavour.”
COVID-19 pandemic has decreased the number of children benefitting from preschool education in Türkiye and worldwide. It is crucial to address this child rights issue urgently according to UNICEF.
“Apart from the love, attention, play and education that children get at home, they also learn many new things and develop important skills through playing with peers in preschools. For this reason, UNICEF calls upon all parents to provide their children with a good start to life – enroll them in preschools so that they are well prepared for lifelong learning and development”, Regina De Dominicis, UNICEF Representative to Türkiye, said.
Children enrolled in at least one year of quality pre-primary education are more likely to develop the critical skills they need to succeed in school and less likely to repeat grades or drop out. Decades of research conducted worldwide demonstrate that quality preschool education programmes contribute to the reduction of unemployment rates, crime and other problems. For these reasons, investment in preschool education is among the most effective ones for improving both the lives of individuals and society.
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