haydi kizlar okula!
this is the slogan of the campaign to get girls into school and has received a lot of tv footage

Roughly one million girls of primary school age are not going to school in Turkey. The gender gap in primary education enrolment is 7% -- about 600,000 more girls than boys. More than 50% of girls between 6 and 14 are out-of-school in some provinces.

Haydi Kızlar Okula! -- the girls’ education campaign in Turkey -- addresses the complex range of economic and social factors that contribute to the non-attendance of girls at school. The campaign was launched by Carol Bellamy and Dr. Hüseyin Çelik, the Minister of National Education, in the eastern province of Van in June 2003.

The goal of Haydi Kızlar Okula! is to close the gender-gap in primary school enrolment by the end of 2005 through the provision of a quality basic education for all girls in 53 provinces with the lowest enrolment rates.

The main barriers to Girls’ Education
Shortage of schools and classrooms;
Schools are often situated far from home and many parents do not want their children, especially girls, to travel far;
Parents do not want to send children to schools that are in a poor physical state with no toilets or running water;
Many families suffer economic hardship;
The traditional gender bias of families favours the needs of men and boys over those of women and girls;
The need to augment domestic income by keeping children at home to work;
Many parents consider the early marriage of their girls to be more important than their education;
Female role models in rural communities are scarce -- or entirely absent;
Opportunities for secondary education are rare, discouraging interest at primary level.
the campaign began in 2003 and is continuing..there has been an increase in girls going to school but unfortunately there is still a long way to go


haydi kizlar okula!
Thanks for sharing this Shirley, i recently read an article in an American Newspaper about the campain ... lets hope it encourages a few parents!!

[edited to add article]

Taken from The Las Vegas Sun

VAN, Turkey - It's the second week of school, and Mehmet Sadik Altin, the local imam, charges up to a lopsided concrete home with a mud roof and demands to know why the five girls inside aren't in class.

"We don't have money for bread," Meryem Benek shouts at Altin, surrounded by three children wearing torn plastic shoes and worn-out, mud-caked sweaters. "How can I send my girls to school?"

After a half hour of arguing, a team including Altin, a school principal and several teachers persuades Benek that her daughters need an education. The illiterate woman clasps a pen and on a piece of paper draws the curved line that serves as her signature.

Hundreds of teachers are combing city slums and rural villages as part of a massive national campaign to educate an estimated 520,000 Turkish girls who don't go to school.

How well they succeed could hold far-reaching consequences: Ankara begins entry talks with the European Union on Monday, and the focus will be on issues such as human rights, gender equality and Turkey's need to improve its economy. Already, many European countries are reluctant to accept such a huge and poor country.

The campaign has been largely successful: Some 120,000 girls have enrolled since the effort was launched two years ago, including some 20,000 in the eastern city of Van, where mosque leader Altin recruits students door-to-door.

It is also a difficult effort that clashes directly with Islamic and village traditions dictating that girls don't belong in the classroom.

The national undertaking, called "Hey Girls, Let's Go to School," is also coming face-to-face with the crushing poverty in some areas of Turkey, where the expense of pencils and notebooks is too much for parents who can barely afford food.

In some poor provinces, officials estimate that at least half of girls do not go to school - despite the fact education is compulsory until the age of 14 in rigidly secular Turkey, a nation of some 70 million.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wife, Emine, have repeatedly spoken out in favor of the campaign. Education Minister Huseyin Celik, who is from Van, has told reporters how his brothers went to school but his sisters did not.

Equal education "is not for the EU but for Turkey itself," said Fatma Ozdemir Uluc, an education officer with UNICEF. "These girls are our future."

The effort started in 2003 in Van, a poor, mostly Kurdish area bordering Iran and has spread to 53 provinces, building up enormous grass-roots support.

A suburb of the capital, Ankara, recently held a bicycle race to benefit the campaign and an Istanbul mall features booths in support of it. Local businesses are chipping in and large companies have pledged millions. UNICEF has contributed $420,000.

Much of the funding is going toward easing Turkey's school shortage. In one village near Van there is just a two-room school with one teacher for 185 students.

"Our aim is to bring all of the children to school by 2007," said Servet Ozdemir, the Education Ministry's general director for elementary education.

With World Bank help, Turkey is now offering the poorest parents $30 a month if they send their girls to school and $21 to send their boys. The money is meant to help pay for school supplies.

A key part of the campaign has been mobilizing imams like Altin - who under law must be government employees - to convince conservative Turks that Islam is not against educating girls.

Poor Turks "say a girl can get married when she is 16 so why send her to school?" said Zeki Tanriant, the imam of the Soydan Mosque in central Van. He accompanied Altin when he visited the Benek family.

But Tanriant says that Islam demands that girls be educated.

"Allah's first order to the Prophet Muhammad was 'Read!'" Tanriant said. "Allah did not say 'Read boys!' or 'Read girls!'" he explained, sitting in his office in the corner of a mosque.

That view, however, is controversial in many areas. UNICEF officials have privately said that while government imams support the campaign, unofficial religious leaders have tried to undermine it.

The campaign also faces resistance from Kurds who object to teaching in the Turkish language. Turkey does not recognize its 12 million Kurds as a minority and all public school education is in Turkish.

Kurdish guerrillas, who have been battling government forces in the southeast since 1984, once accused teachers of being complicit in a campaign to forcibly integrate Kurds.

When the imam came to her door, Benek spoke Turkish haltingly and immediately switched to Kurdish when she saw that Altin was a Kurd. She agreed to send her girls to school after the recruiting team offered her funds toward supplies.

"I promise my daughters will go to school tomorrow, but if there is no aid, I will pull them out," she said.

In front of a nearby house, Selahattin Yildirim stood on the stoop, smoking.

"Why `Hey Girls Let's go to School?'" he asked. "It should be `Hey Boys.'" This is immoral. Why force people to send their girls to school?"
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haydi kizlar okula!
İve been a little disappointed that my thread on the ‘Haydi Kizlar Okulda’’ slogan didnt generate more comment or debate.
Its something i feel we all should be concerned about especially as so many folks from the uk are making this country their home.
The problem of girls not being properly educated affects the whole of society..and this is a problem which exists all over Turkey..not just in the far east like Van or Diyebakir.
Many districts in İstanbul report the poor attendance of girls…as well as other provinces.
Last year i heard that a man that used to work for me had stopped sending his daughter to school…she was 14 and a bright kid. Whenj i asked him why he said there was no need for her to go as she would be getting married soon. He already had the bridegroom lined up.
Needless to say we had a heated argument about this ( i know him well enough to express myself forcibly…wouldnt dream of doing so if i didn’t…the bruises didn’t show)
Thankfully he listened to me and his daughter has got a reprieve is stil going to school ..and will not be pushed into a marriage she didnt want.
haydi kizlar okula!
most of your words are not real.you do not know the real but you always say bad things about our country.please read my message shırlyanntr.ı sent you a message and make a good investigation and then talk about my country


Senior Member Has-Been
haydi kizlar okula!
I did read your starter to the thread with interest.

I do follow Turkish politics and social issues as well as I can not being fluent in the language. I have the impression that the Turkish Government, for whatever reason (probably EU motivated), is pushing this with some commitment as part of a modernisation programme.

I guess there is a problem bringing a huge country up to speed on this within a few years, but until it is illegal not to attend school I suspect this will be a slow process. Presumably they can not force it (with legislation) until there is a school system that could cope with the extra demand, and from what I see locally, that is a little way off.

The influence of the neighbouring Islamic countries can not be underestimated, and by comparrison Turkey is quite advanced.

The crunch of your thread is what, if anything, we as immigrants can do? I am a little reluctant to do more than encourage, as critisism can seem very paternalistic. What do you advise?



Non Active Member
haydi kizlar okula!
Shirley, the post does in deed bring home the educational differences between eastern and western countries, it was not so long ago that Britain held very similar views that woman get married and there was not a need to educate girls to the same level as boys, fortunately those days have long since gone.

In the larger towns and cities of Turkey the majority of females have the same educational opportunities as that of the boys, however, I can see or have been given to understand that many outlying villages still possess the draconian or antiquated views of its larger conterparts.

Mustafa, I am sorry that you feel upset by these comments, but a majority of the postings regarding this issue are taken from personal experiences or Turkish editorials, unfortunately, there are times the western reporting is taken out of concept. I doubt very much that any member of this forum is ''talking badly'' of your country. many members come to Turkey for holidays or have purchased a home to reside permanently and I feel that we all respect the various aspects of the Turkish culture.
haydi kizlar okula!
Mustafa...it is not me that is saying bad things about education. the campaign on TV and elsewhere to get girls to school was set up by Turkish educators who are concerned. i have never ever said anything derogatory about Turkey. As a newcomer to the Forum you should check out the various threads. i hope you will have a really nice time on this forum as it is a friendly place.
haydi kizlar okula!
Since i have also had an unpleasant email regarding this i just want to clarify my position...i have no political axe to grind i just feel that as settlers here we need to know what life is like for some Turkish people and also to raise awareness of various life styles which we find ourselves in the midst of and may unwittingly (as i seem to have) cause offence. :39:
but most importantly i just like posting on the forum :lol: in future i will ask for a censureship test from Merlin :embarasse


haydi kizlar okula!

I have read this thread and I do not find it in anyway offensive, in fact coming from a country such as the Uk where political correctness has gone mad it does allow us to view `areas` such as you have highlighted with an open mind and with a view to getting (wishing) some of the basics such as education were available to all. By getting all young children a decent and proper education this can only help them with their own future as Turkey aspires for a place in the EEC, it is no use waiting 10/15 years down the road and then deciding something like education is necessary it has got to happen now in order to secure their own future.

I notice that Mustafa has only made one post so possibly he has not been on this forum for long and therefore does not see the bigger picture in that we are (as members of this forum) either holidaying or have properties or live permanently in Turkey and that most of us are genuinely concerned for the welfare and development of the turkish people and for this reason yes we do comment on areas that we feel could be improved for the benefit of the `people` of Turkey. It is not intended `to put down` in any way what we have all come to enjoy and for many of us come to be a part of.


Non Active Member
haydi kizlar okula!
Shirley I for one do not feel having looked over your other postings that you need to have a 'censorship test' they have all been constructive and conformative, please keep them coming. If Mustafa as a new member had taken time to read other post instead of advertising the company he works for he may have a better understanding of the working of the forum.


haydi kizlar okula!
shirleyanntr said:
Since i have also had an unpleasant email regarding this i just want to clarify my position...i have no political axe to grind i just feel that as settlers here we need to know what life is like for some Turkish people and also to raise awareness of various life styles which we find ourselves in the midst of and may unwittingly (as i seem to have) cause offence. :39:
but most importantly i just like posting on the forum :lol: in future i will ask for a censureship test from Merlin :embarasse

Would you please send me a copy of the email.


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