Queen Rania Visits Educational Initiatives in Turkey

25 شباط 2006

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department - Istanbul) In her capacity as a renowned advocate for education and children's issues, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah received a warm welcome from children and educators alike, as she explored and promoted Jordanian-Turkish collaborations in the field of Early Childhood Development (ECD) and Education, during a two-day working trip, to Istanbul, Turkey, which concluded on Friday.

During a press conference, on Friday, Her Majesty noted the importance of ensuring access to, and quality of, education for all its children – girls and boys", while commending Turkish initiatives in the field. Queen Rania was speaking alongside the wife of the Turkish Prime Minister, Mrs. Emine Erdogan, where she joined Mrs. Erdogan in reiterating to members of the press the importance of ECD programs.

Of the progress Jordan has made in the area, Queen Rania said: "Last year we launched our National Kindergarten Curriculum and currently 99,000 children are enrolled in kindergartens, but we will not rest until every child has access to a quality pre-school education." Queen Rania's trip to the Turkish city included site visits to a number of prominent Turkish educational initiatives. On Thursday, Queen Rania visited the Caglayan Primary School, one of the sites of the Mother Child Education Foundation (ACEV) Learning Center programs.

Received by dozens of excited students, waving Jordanian and Turkish flags, in addition to ACEV General Manager Aysen Ozyegin, who had visited Jordan late last year to discuss prospective collaborations between the Foundation and Jordan in the field, the Queen reviewed the progress of the Memorandum of Understanding, which was signed with the National Council for Family Affairs (NCFA) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), last year. During her visit, Queen Rania participated in four programs implemented at the school.

In the first program, the Mother Child Education Program, Her Majesty engaged in a candid discussion with the participants on the benefits of the program, as a whole. The MCEP aims to empower mothers as potential educators through multi-purpose non-formal educational models. At the Father Support Program, furthermore, she interacted with participants in a game on positive discipline methods, discussing with them the changes in their relationships with their children, as a result of the program, which is designed to encourage and support fathers to take a more positive and active role in their child's development. The Women's Support and Functional Adult Literacy Program, part of the EU- funded "Reducing Gender Disparity in Girls Education Project", moreover, saw the Queen participating in a discussion on the importance of girls' primary education.

Queen Rania concluded her visit with a stop at the Preschool Parent Child Education Program, where she joined a group of children participating in various exercises. On Friday, on the other hand, Queen Rania visited one of the sites of the Educational Volunteers Foundation, also known as the Türkiye E?itim Gonüllüleri Vakfi (TEGV), to observe and interact with children and volunteers participating in the Dreams Workshop. Greeted upon her arrival by volunteers and a crowd of 150 enthusiastic children regularly bussed into the centre from local state schools to take part in activities complementing basic schooling, Queen Rania chatted with the children and their volunteer mentors as they engaged in creating marbling pictures and clay work in the Dreams Workshop '‘Life skills through Art Activities Program'', a life skills enhancement program for volunteers carried out through creative art and design workshops with children.

The Dreams Workshop project aims at enhancing the self-esteem and communication skills of youth volunteers, while offering disadvantaged children and adolescents creative activities, thereby enabling them to become confident, effective and empathetic community members. Launched in 2003, the project has supported nearly 800 volunteers and 40,000 children throughout Turkey in creating their future in "Dreams Workshops".

It is being realized in Turkey through the Make a Connection program, a joint initiative of Nokia and the International Youth Foundation (IYF). Other activities offered at the center include: ‘IT literacy’, ‘Cooking up basics – Nutrition’, ‘Sports for Fun’, and ‘Drama Games’. Prior to her departure, the children presented Her Majesty with a child’s painting from the workshop as a memento of her visit. The Educational Volunteers Foundation (TEGV) is a non-profit organization, which has been working with various governmental and non-governmental organizations since its inception in 1995. The Foundation is a member of the International Youth Foundation, where Queen Rania serves as a member of the board.

Earlier in the day, the Queen attended the opening session of the Early Childhood Education for Social and Economic Development Conference. The conference, held under the theme, Seven is too Late, was organized by ACEV to further encourage the adoption of ECD programs in Turkey and throughout the Middle East.