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Girls' Education in AnatoliaAnatolia is known as the Asian side of Turkey. Communities in Anatolia generally engage in a rural way of living where, most of the times, dynamics like globalization and technology are not the primary driving forces. Anatolia has been dealing with the issue of gender inequality in education, and there are many questions about girls’ education in this part of Turkey.

Reasons Behind the Gender Gap in Education

The gender gap that exists in Anatolia has not only existed in the workforce but has also translated to education in the region as well. Due to several different reasons, the people of Anatolia used to wish for their daughters to stay home and do domestic chores but, on the other hand, were motivated to send boys to school. That kind of behavior was a result of several barriers: lack of classrooms and schools, the distance of the school, the economic situation of families, early marriages problem and lack of female role models in Anatolia.

As the government was focused on decreasing the gender gap in education, the officials came up with a new program in 2004 that opened a door to many other programs and establishments related to this problem. Soon, the bad image of the situation was fixed with the help of different participants and the government taking effective steps to overcome the issue of the gender gap in the education of Anatolia.

Off to School, Girls!

One of the most impactful campaigns that was organized by the Minister of National Education and supported by UNICEF was Haydi Kızlar Okula! (Off to school, girls!). The campaign was very effective and became one of the first steps in the process of changing girls’ education in Anatolia.

The goal of Haydi Kızlar Okula! was to close the gender gap in 53 provinces that had the lowest enrollment rates of girls in schools in Anatolia by the end of 2005. The campaign did not only enable a sustainable social mobilization of the communities but also solved the issue of a lack of available schools and classrooms in different districts.

The campaign itself was a collective effort of many participants and institutions fulfilling their responsibilities for girls’ education in Anatolia. The government of Turkey might seem like the main organizer of the program but many other companies and organizations were also involved. Nationwide TV channels voluntarily contributed to the program in terms of spreading the news, and Coca-Cola provided free publicity.

The contribution of the campaign in solving the problem with girls’ school enrollment was remarkable because it increased the number of girls in primary schools immediately. According to 2010 data shared by the Ministry of National Education in Turkey, the number of the girls in schools in 10 provinces was 10 by the end of 2003. This number was increased to 33 provinces and 73.2 girls by the end of 2004 and then up to 53 provinces and 62.251 girls by the end of 2005. It should be highlighted that a total of 239.112 girls attended primary school as a direct result of Haydi Kızlar Okula!

Haydi Kızlar Okula! might seem off-topic to the revolutionary decrease of the gender gap in Anatolia today due to the fact that it happened in the early 2000s, but it is considered the first of many other campaigns that solved the issue of the educational gender gap in Anatolia.

– Orçun Doğmazer
Photo: Flickr

girls' education in Venezuela
The people of Venezuela are currently suffering as a result of the economic and political crisis occurring in the nation, which has affected girls’ education in Venezuela severely. Public schools that used to be ranked among the top in South America are now rarely opened for class. The annual dropout rate has doubled and more than one-quarter of teenagers are not enrolled in school. Additionally, according to Foundation Bengoa, a quarter of Venezuelan children missed class in the 2017-2018 school year because of hunger.

The many protests and high crime rate put students at risk and disrupt the school day often. According to Business Insider, more than one-quarter of teenagers are not even enrolled in school due to fear and lack of resources. According to Tupac Amaru Rivas, the head of El Sistema school in Caracas, parents often prefer to keep their children at home and teachers often cannot attend school so the school is forced to cancel class.

How the Venezuelan Government is Reacting

Although there is proof of a decline in the quality of education, the government refuses to acknowledge this by insisting that 75 percent of the national budget goes to the social sector. President Maduro released a statement saying, “Amid the economic war, the fall of oil prices, international harassment and financial persecution, not a single school has closed.” Venezuela currently ranks last globally in the Rule of Law Index. The lack of transparency and press coverage means that some official information is inaccurate or unavailable.

Ever since former President Hugo Chavez came into power, delivering a high-quality education to the youth was a priority in Venezuela. However, due to the recent economic and political crisis, girls’ education in Venezuela and education, in general, has taken a hit.

Issues Affecting Girls’ Education in Venezuela

School in Venezuela is often canceled because of the lack of basic utilities and food. The Caracas Public High School has even had to close down for weeks at a time.  A group of parents has said that Venezuelan children have missed an average of 40 percent of class time because of canceled classes.

The schools have also been affected by crime and instability in the country. Teachers are among those who have been shot, murdered or are missing. Additionally, teachers even exchange a passing grade for food. It is also common for teachers not to show up to class because they are waiting in food lines for their families.

Issues Within the Venezuelan School System

Even when school is open, what is being taught in schools is often flawed. The Associated Press has reported that some schools even leave textbooks delivered by the government unopened because teachers see them as “too full of pro-socialist propaganda to use.” This not only affects girls’ education in Venezuela but also education in the nation as a whole.

Education itself it suffering enough and the gender gap continues to increase in the midst of the economic crisis. In 2017, Venezuela scored 0.71 on the Gender Gap Index compared to 0.69 for the three previous years, meaning that women are approximately 29 percent less likely than men to have equal opportunities.

Although this is concerning, Venezuela is known to have very little discrimination in educational and social institutions. Rates of school enrollment and years of education in Venezuela are about the same for girls and boys.

The issue of the educational decline in Venezuela needs to be addressed before it is too late. A spokeswomen from the Movement of Organized Parents in Venezuela told the Associated Press, “This country has abandoned its children. By the time we see the full consequences, there will be no way to put it right.” Education, specifically girls’ education in Venezuela, will continue to suffer until these issues are dealt with.

– Luz Solano-Flórez
Photo: Flickr

Girls' Education in TanzaniaTanzania is the 25th poorest country in the world but has one of the world’s largest populations. Families struggle to provide for their children on a daily basis. Some consider schooling to be the way out of poverty, but education, especially girls’ education in Tanzania, is expensive and inaccessible to many.

Why Costs Lower Attendance

Research finds that raising a Tanzanian student education level by just one year has the possibility of increasing household income by up to 30 percent. This statistic involves boys and girls alike. School is expensive and Tanzania does not have many to choose from. Often, the families must pick one child (if they have the ability to pick any) to fully educate. Being a patriarchal society, girls in Tanzania are much less educated than boys.

Secondary school enrollment rate in Tanzania is as low as 31 percent. The percentage for girls in Tanzania is even lower. An estimated 5.1 million children aged 7 to 17 do not attend school. Only 52 percent of the children in Tanzania are enrolled in secondary school and even fewer complete it.

One of the greatest obstacles to girls’ education in Tanzania is the physical transportation to and from school. On average, a child will have to walk anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours in each direction to attend school.

The Obstacle of Child Marriage

Another obstacle to girls’ education in Tanzania is child marriage. Two out of five girls in Tanzania are married before they turn 18. This inevitably leads to young pregnancies and thus the necessity to drop out of school. World Bank Data reports that less than one-third of all girls in Tanzania graduate. It is considered taboo for girls in Tanzania to return to their schooling after becoming pregnant or having a child. This belief only enforces the gender gap when it comes to education.

Further, many children are not allowed to continue their schooling after failing their compulsory primary school leaving exam. Children in Tanzania are not allowed to retake this exam, thus, failing it completely ends their schooling as they have no way to advance.

Improving Girls’ Education in Tanzania

Education has been on the Tanzanian governments’ agenda since independence in 1961 and has been working into the national budget every year since. In 2015, the Tanzanian government abolished school fees and additional costs, a necessary and progressive step in increasing enrollment rates and improving education. However, financial barriers still exist including transportation and additional educational costs and supplies. This keeps the gender gap very much visible.

The best approach to fixing the gap in girls’ education in Tanzania is by changing the patriarchal mindset. This can be difficult and take time so it must start sooner rather than later. In addition, more schools are needed. The lack of schools in rural Tanzania limits access to secondary school.

Tanzania is experiencing rapid population growth rates. The country must either slow its population growth rates or increase its economic growth rates. The government credits the high fertility rate and rapid population growth to child marriages and low educational status of girls in Tanzania.

Education is one of the best resources to lift families out of poverty and increase a country’s overall economic growth. Quality education for all genders will benefit Tanzania as a whole and should be a goal of every citizen and government employee.

– Haley Hine

Photo: Google