IMCD Turkey supports equal access to online education for children through IMCD Cares Fund
For the first part of this project, 351 children from low-income households received a tablet with access to satellite internet
According to a calculation made by World Bank experts using PISA 2018 data – the global test that provides assessment intended to understand the abilities of 15-year-old students –, the gap between the students in the poorest and the wealthiest socioeconomic level, equivalent to approximately two years of education, increased by 9% due to the closure of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Furthermore, a report released by UNESCO, UNICEF and the World Bank on October 29, 2020, stated that since the Coronavirus outbreak began, children in high-income countries have lagged behind their education by six weeks, while students in low and low-middle-income countries have lost education by almost four months.
Turkey is one of the countries with the youngest population in the world, where more than a quarter of its population are students. Since March 2020 – when the pandemic started in that county – more than 18 million children have been receiving their education online. However, one of the main obstacles of distance education in Turkey is poverty. For a year and a half, most of the students of primary and secondary education have not been able to receive their lessons properly due to lack of resources needed for online learning.
The 2018 Income and Living Conditions Survey of the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK) revealed that 13.9% of the population live in relative poverty. Moreover, also according to TUIK, only 49.1% of households in Turkey have a fixed broadband connection to access to internet.
As a result, there has been a significant learning gap between students who have the tools needed for distance education and the ones cannot have access to them. Findings from the "Equality Analysis" study in the "Education Monitoring Report 2020: Students and Access to Education" report also support this:
- There are large differences in poverty levels in terms of connectivity, access to devices and access to the EBA online system, the educational content network founded by the Turkish Ministry of Education.
- Internet access is still low (39%) in poor households with school-age children, and even lower in households with three or more children.
- Female students were more disadvantaged than male students, especially since female students from large and/or low-income families were expected to do more housework.
Given this current situation, IMCD Turkey partnered with the Educational Volunteers Foundation of Turkey (TEGV), which has been known for its work on equal opportunities in education for many years, to provide easy access to online education to children from low-income households. TEGV was established with the aim of raising primary school children as individuals with modern and universal values and to support the basic education given by the state, has reached 3 million children around this goal since 1995.
The project called “New World Campaign” consisted in distributing 351 tablets with free satellite internet access to children from primary school in Istanbul, Van, Şırnak, Siirt, Antalya and Çorum. With these tablets, the students will be able to access to the courses given by the Ministry of National Education and to the TEGV distance education platform where Science, Mathematics, English, Informatics, Reading and Social-Emotional learning activities are available.
“It is of vital importance for us to contribute to the education of the future generations of Turkey. We had the opportunity to meet the children, talk to them and see how excited they were when they received the tablet. It was such a great pleasure for us”, said Aylin Zakuto, IMCD Turkey Managing Director.
For the same project, IMCD Turkey employees supported voluntarily the TEGV's Distance Education program. From our technical centres in Istanbul, our employees conducted two online experiments with the children. The first one was about how to make t-shirts and books water-resistant using a hydrophobic solution. And the second experiment was about how to make chocolate milk.
To keep this initiative going, IMCD Turkey and TEGV are planning on organizing face-to-face meetings for Science Day with children. And, in addition, IMCD Turkey decided to continue opening their laboratories to invite children to make experiments and learn more about science.