The International Day for the Girl Child, 11 October 2017

The International Day for the Girl Child, 11 October 2017

The International Day for the Girl Child today reminds us all that education is a recognised human right and a basic tool in empowering individuals to reach their full potential and participate in community and social life. It is a core element of democracy. Therefore equal access to education and training is one of the highest political priorities for the European Union.

Education has also enormous potential to promote gender equality and to fight against gender stereotyping, changing mind-sets. Therefore, education bears special significance for girls and women. Learning helps them to become not only independent, but also self-assertive, and to contribute their true and full potential to society.

The European Union and Turkey have a long-standing cooperation to promote these goals. Under a recent project to promote gender equality in education with a total budget of €3,2 million,  8,000 education leaders and teachers were trained in Eastern Turkey to eradicate sexism from textbooks and school classrooms. 12,000 students and 1,000 parents were reached under the project. 14 curricula and 82 textbooks were revised. Nearly 23 million people were reached through social media channels.

The EU and Turkish authorities also successfully cooperated to increase the enrolment and attendance rates of girls in school under the Human Resources Development Operational Programme. A total budget of more than €32 million was allocated to this purpose in two phases.

Under the first phase of the operation, more than 16,000 houses were visited to convince parents for enrolling children to school; more than 2,800 girls were enrolled in schools; almost 1,500 girls/women received vocational and skill development trainings; more than 22,000 were reached through 346 seminars on promoting enrolment and attendance of girls at schools. 29 study centres and 2 guest houses were established for female students.

Under the second phase of the operation, a series of activities have been realized with the participation of the children, their families, education professionals, local opinion leaders and bureaucrats; so as to enable the children who had enrolled but had to quit due to various reasons to continue their education. In the scope of a two years working calendar, tens of thousands of children, their families, education professionals, local opinion leaders and bureaucrats have been reached; 3,200 parents and students received vocational skills trainings; information meetings which included speeches from role models reached more than 2,000 parents and students; through the family visits, more than 5,000 parents whose girls dropped from school were reached; school festivals were organized in 14 provinces with the participation of more than 5,000 teachers and students.