With one in eight girls in Turkey out of school, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and that country's Government today launched a major campaign to get every girl in the classroom by 2005.
"Education is the right of all children. Fulfilling the right of every girl to a quality, basic education is the key to promoting true equality between boys and girls and men and women," UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy said, launching the initiative in the eastern province of Van. "Turkey can make no better investment in preparing for the European Union than investing in education."
The Advocacy Campaign for Girls Education launched by UNICEF and the Turkish Ministry of National Education will begin in 10 provinces this year before expanding to 40 more by the end of 2005. Local authorities will back the campaign by promoting the benefits of girls' education to families and communities, the agency said.
"Every year a girl spends in school is a step towards eliminating poverty, advancing human development and promoting gender equality. The benefits of educating girls are passed from one generation to the next. Educated girls become educated mothers, which means lower child mortality, better nourished and healthier children and economic growth," UNICEF said.
The Girls Education Campaign is part of an intensive effort in 25 countries to get as many girls as boys into school by 2005.