Kader Sevinc - Smart Democracy & Smart Citizenship

Children’s Day in Turkey

The 23rd of April is the 93st anniversary of the Turkish parliament and a day that the founder of Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, dedicated to children. Turkey was the first country to have a day to celebrate the Children of the nation.


Some facts from the UNESCO’s “Education for All” Report:

  • In Turkey,there is gender parity among rich families,for poor households,64% of boys attain foundation skills compared with 30% of girls. In Turkey, strategies need to target young women from the poorest households
  • In Turkey, the rural gender gap is wide. 65% of young women do not complete lower secondary school, compared with 36% of young men.
  • In Turkey, 23% of those with no education are involved in non-farm activities, compared with 40% of those with primary education and 64% of those with at least secondary education.
  • Unemployment figures hide the fact that some young people stop looking for work because they do not believe they will find any. People who are neither in education or employment nor actively seeking work are often classified as ‘inactive’, even though their inactivity reflects the labour market more than their own motivation. If those who are discouraged from participating in the labour force are included, the unemployment rate increases substantially – rising by around one-quarter in Jordan, Mexico and Turkey (Understanding Children’s Work, 2012).
  • In Turkey, 52% of females were identified as inactive, compared with 16% of males.
  • The European Union is also an important source of funds for skills development.
  • In Turkey, 65% of young rural women do not complete lower secondary school.

Child labour is a serious problem in Turkey

The Turkish Statistical Institute is due to conduct a child labour survey in 2012. Its last child labour survey, carried out in 2006, showed that showed that 5.9 percent of 6-17 year-olds in Turkey (over 900,000 children) were engaged in some form of economic activity. One third were in the 6-14 age group. Just under half worked as unpaid labourers in family enterprises. About 40 percent were working in agriculture. Girls made up a quarter of children working in urban areas and 40 percent in rural areas. 39 percent of working 6-14 year-olds and 83 percent of working 15-17 year-olds were not attending school. Compared to 1999, when the previous survey was conducted, the number of working children had declined, particularly in rural areas and in the case of unpaid family labour.(1)

Current OECD data for relative poverty among children suggests that child poverty in Turkey is the highest in the OECD, at 24.6%, which is almost twice the OECD average. (2)


UNESCO – EFA Global Monitoring Report “Youth and Skills:Putting education to work” –

Full Report: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002180/218003e.pdf

(1) UNICEF – http://www.unicef.org.tr

(2) OECD Family Database – www.oecd.org/els/social/family/database

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