Turkey to bring in compulsory preschool for all children

Children In School Turkey
Children raise their hands, eager to respond to their teacher’s question, at a kindergarten in Sureyeli Misafirler, Turkey (UNICEF / Noorani)

Child nutrition (Early years), Early childhood development, ​Learning through play (Early years), Refugees and internally displaced people

Preschool can help a child get the best start in life - by preparing them for school and increasing their chances of staying in education. 

All children in Turkey are to get at least one year of compulsory preschool.

Any child over the age of 54 months will be required to attend preschool before starting elementary school by 2019, the Ministry of National Education announced.

Theirworld has been campaigning for world leaders to allocate the funds needed to establish quality early childhood development programmes and give every child the best start in life.

By the time a child reaches five years old, 90% of their brain has already developed – which means the journey from birth to school is one of the most important of their lives.

One key aspect of that is preschool. It can help a child prepare for school, increase their chances of staying in education and even increase their earnings as an adult. 

Two years of free, quality preschool for every child is one of the major recommendations of the Education Commission – a group of world leaders and experts who delivered a global education report to the United Nations last year.

It said countries should prioritise early childhood development and preschool to ensure the building blocks are in place for children to succeed in their education and beyond.

Turkey’s education ministry said all children will be enrolled automatically to their nearest preschool.

Meanwhile, a preschool for Syrian refugee orphans has been opened in the southern province of Kilis.

The aid agency Turkish IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation takes care of 15,000 orphans in Turkey and 90,000 worldwide.

It will now also look after 70 Syrian orphans at Kilis, giving them an education in both Turkish and Arabic.

“We aim to continue our support from kindergarten to university. We will protect these children,” orphan care unit manager Ahmet Kenan told the Anadolu Agency.

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