"WHERE WERE WE" EDUCATION CAMPAIGN INTRODUCEDIntroductory meeting of "Where were we?" an education campaign initiated under the auspices of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's spouse Emine Erdoğan was held with the participation of Minister of National Education Mahmut Özer and Minister of Family and Social Services Derya Yanık.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's spouse Emine Erdoğan said during her speech at the introductory meeting that education is the only power that bolsters the society and government prioritize education in its actions. Noting that schooling rate has increased gradually due to reforms achieved in the country and after providing equal opportunities in education, Emine Erdoğan said that they have carried out many projects with nongovernmental organizations such as, "Hey Girls, Let's Go To School", "Mothers and Daughters At School" and "Literacy Campaign" and she witnessed these projects miraculously changed many lives.
"Now, we are initiating this exciting, 'Where were we?' project. It will encourage women and girls who dropped out of school due to various different reasons to go back to school," said Emine Erdoğan.
"Missing school is a great longing"
Noting that unfinished journeys have deep meanings in a person's life, Mrs. Erdoğan stressed, "No matter how old they are, missing school is a great longing. This project aims at giving diplomas and teaching professional skills to women through open education high schools and public training centers in 81 cities of the country. Moreover, our people who are living abroad can also benefit from the Open Education High School Western Europe and Balkans Program."
"Educated women are the important actors that provide transition from family to strong society"
Mrs. Erdoğan said that educated women are the important actors that provide transition from family to strong society and went on to say that: "Women are the mirrors of society. When we take a look at our roots, we see that women have the highest place and leading position in social and economic life. They even took a role in the country's defense. They dealt with social issues and displayed beautiful examples of solidarity and offering helping hands. They guided younger generations, showed respect to seniors. Our women protected this heritage. They displayed unique examples in the War of Independence, during the rebirth of this country and in the steps towards the future."
"The project will increase employment rates"
Stressing that the project will increase employment rates as well as teaching skills and training women, Mrs. Erdoğan stated, "Strong women will transform into strong families and strong families will build an invincible society. Not only in Turkey but women from different parts of the world could not use their education rights due to economic, political or social reasons. Today, approximately 132 million girls could not practice their education rights in the world; 34 million of them are primary school dropouts, 30 million are secondary school dropouts and 77 million are either high school dropouts or have never been schooled."
"I want you to show this courage"
Addressing women and girls, Mrs. Erdoğan said, "Regardless of why they dropped out of school, your self-discovery journey still continues. One of the rare things that you are never late for is education. You can go back at any age. I want you to show this courage."
"Schooling rate in secondary education increased from 45 percent to 88 percent"
Meanwhile, Minister of National Education Mahmut Özer expressed his happiness to be a part of this campaign that will make an important contribution to increasing the education level of the society.
Stating that his Ministry will give all necessary support to spread the campaign and turn it into an important transformation in the society, Özer stressed that many important investments were made in different fields of education since 2002 under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
"I am happy to see the reflection of these investments on the quality of education. These improvements can be seen clearly in the schooling rate of girls. Schooling rate of girls in secondary schools which was 45 percent in 2002 increased to 88 percent today and the schooling rate of girls in higher education increased from 14 percent to 46 percent during this period," stated Özer.
"We will provide all necessary opportunity for women to complete their education"
Özer stressed that in addition to working in an effort to increase schooling rate at all levels of education of the young population, they also offer services, enhance capacity and variety for older people to increase their education level. Reminding that his Ministry offered all kinds necessary support to women who dropped out school through life-long learning institutions and open education, Özer stated, "When we take a look at the number of students enrolled in open education high schools, we see that our people are working in an effort to complete their education. In the 2021-2022 school year, 225 thousand or in other words 33 percent of students who enrolled in open education high schools are women over 20 years old."
He went on to say: "The Ministry of National Education will provide all necessary opportunities for women to complete their education through various different programs such as open education high schools, advanced technical schools for girls and vocational training centers. We will organize online open education exams via digital platforms in the country and abroad."
"I believe that our human resources will be enriched"
Minister of Family and Social Services Derya Yanık stated that the possibility of completing unfinished tasks might be more motivating and exciting than new starts.
Stressing that they are aiming at providing education opportunities to all people and reaching as many people as they can, Yanık went on to say that, "We believe that we will provide maximum benefit to the development of our country while achieving our own goals. When girls and women complete their education, our human resources will be enriched. I consider this campaign as the reflection of this ideal."
Pointing out that Turkey achieved important increase in the literacy and schooling rate in the last 18 years, Minister Yanık said, "According to the figures of the Turkish Statistical Institute, the literacy rate among the female population over 6 years old which was 79,9 in 2002 increased to 95,5 in 2020."
"We are strong as long as it is one for all, all for one"
Yanık mentioned that the "Empowerment of Women Strategy Document and Action Plan" implemented by the Ministry of Family and Social Services between 2018 and 2023 aims at full and effective participation of women in business life and women will have more say in economic life in line with the changing labor market dynamics.
Following the speeches, Minister Özer gave a present to Emine Erdoğan.