DEVELOPING PARENT SCHOOL PARTNERSHIP PROJECT IN TURKEY
Background Information : As a result of 1999 Marmara Region Earthquakes, hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom lost their immediate family members and relatives, found themselves in a situation with a severe lack of shelter, food, health care and education. As results of rehabilitation and recovery programs citizens returned to back to normal life as much as possible. In this period IBC developed and implemented many different types of rehabilitation programs and projects and continued to support to re-building of the communities as post emergency programs. “Parent School Partnership Program – PSP” was one of these programs that IBC implemented in different locations in Marmara Region.
Project Summary : The vision of the PSP Program was to strengthen the Civil Society by creating partnership programs between the schools, parents, students and the local authorities to become advocates of social development programs within their communities. The program aimed to support schools and communities to become agents of social development in their community who can create better environments for children to learn and become active participants in society. And the PSP program highly promoted civic participation and community mobilization around themes of parental involvement and educational quality through the establishment of Parent School Councils (PSCs) in primary and secondary schools specifically in e/q region.
Project Goal : The main objectives of the project were the following :
- Building the organizational capacity of the Parent School Councils at the school level for effective involvement in the resolution of child and school related issues.
- Enhancing parental skills.
- Increasing teachers’ capacities to involve parents in education of their children and create better environment for children,
The project was focused primarily on needs of four schools in Kocaeli Province that were highly affected by the e/q. The schools were located in rural areas, inhabited by communities with low socio economic status. The construction phases of the schools were completed and the needs to address the interaction of students, parents, teachers and school authorities contributing to the life of the school and the revitalization of the community was of priority.
Affiliated Schools and Communities : All the reached schools and communities all received extensive damages as results of 1999 Marmara E/Q. IBC provided relief and renovation for these schools and communities. The existing relationships and colorations allowed IBC to continue working with the communities to begin on capacity building and training activities to become social services to change the agents.
- Golcuk Barbaros Hayrettin High School
The epic center of the 1999 e/q, measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale highly damaged the high school. At that year the population of Golcuk was 28.000, many of the residents were employed either at the active Navy-base or small enterprise business on in various professional services. There was also high level of unemployed as results of the e/q and economic conditions within the Region. The school has been constructed on a total area of 2500 m2. and the school building had heavy damage because of the e/q and after e/q the school was reinforced by IBC.
Within the PSP Project in the school it was aimed to establish a better educational and reconstructional environment by improving the surrounding environment. After the general rehabilitation of the school some other physical activities were undertaken such as;
- Extra-curricular activities for students were organized (quiz shows, coffee-evenings, field trips, science centers visits, university visits)
- The school drive way multipurpose activity grounds and parking lot were asphalted.
- Outdoor student lounges with benches were renovated.
- The school security entrance area was refurbished.
- The grounds with grass, trees and flowers were replanted.
While these groups of activities were implemented extra-curricular activities for students that would encourage community involvement as well was extremely provided and organized. Fore example, an assay study was requested from the students for them to reflect their opinions. These assays were evaluated by their homeroom teachers and innovative essays were taken into consideration while the design of the project.
- Karamursel Hearing Impaired Boarding Primary School
Karamursel is a small town, about 30 km. west of Golcuk. Karamursel is the home town of the Karamursel Hearing Impaired Boarding Primary School for Deaf. The students enrolled at Karamursel from other surrounding provinces.
After the e/q the school was heavily damaged. IBC worked closely with the Ministry of Education, Ankara Gazi University, National and International Donors seeking ways to re-construct the school to bring its students and teachers back to their school. And finally IBC accomplished all the rehabilitation works of the school.
The mentioned school for the Deaf first opened in 1988 as a boarding school. Due to great distance many of the parents only came once every two weeks or once a month. But after PSP program parent meetings and parent trainings were held and there was a perfect partnership was established between the school and the parents. Eventually a parent council was established. Parents were trained and they learned the role of the organization and its abilities to work with the school.
Within the PSP Project parental skills of parents and other family members were improved with the involvement of Universities Special Education Departments. The effectiveness of the learning process of deaf children was improved by providing special end visual education materials and also hearing aids and necessary specialized equipment. In the school dormitory and laundry enhancement was realized. New opportunities for child development through extracurricular were developed such as theatre program. Deaf Students in the school received a theatre program training from an Actor who is also deaf. The 50 minute theatre performance with 38 students was staged. The theatre performance received a great amount of Press Release and was on CNN Turk, TRT (Turkish Radio Television) and Cine 5 TV channels and also in many local and national newspapers. This activity showed that young deaf people truly have the ability and talent to be actors, showed the parents and teachers of the school that there can be a strong partnership between the communities when they involved to the school issues. And finally the capacity of parent school council was increased to mobilize parents for involvement in their child education.
- Karakopru Primary School
Karakopru Primary School, which was established in 1987 in Kocaeli Province was rendering 8 year long elementary education in Kocaeli Province. Even though the school building had received moderate damage during 1999 Marmara E/Q, school road and yard had been seriously damaged in such a way that the situation hindered schooling. Karakopru Primary School was among the establishment which received very limited emergency aid devoted to the region. Thanks to IBC contributions, school road and whole school yard was repaired.
People living in the residential areas close to school were mostly people were immigrated from eastern provinces with the hope of receiving emergency after the e/q and finding new job opportunities. They were mostly uneducated and did not have any social security.
Within the PSP Project administrative skills of parent school council members were increased by capacity building trainings. In the school a “class mother system” was established and mothers were trained about child development, the role of the family in child development and education. In the meantime the skills of parents and students were strengthen in order to organize educational, social and fundraising activities. And also IBC funded the purchasing and distribution of educational materials, school uniforms, computers and school sets in the school.
Within the frame work of IBC PSP Program parent trainings were organized in each school after needs assessments were done by each PSP program school. As a result of these assessments the topics of the regular parental training sessions were identified :
- Physiological and physiological development of children
- Interpersonal communication within the family
- Common problems parents face
- Sexual developments of adolescents
- Common problems of school children
The purpose of the training sessions for the parents was to enhance parental skills and to create a better learning environment for children at home.
Within the PSP Program IBC contacted with the universities to increase affiliated schools’ teachers’ capacities about effects school and parent attitudes on children, working with parents on child education, systematic observation of behaviors in problematic children, human relation and communication, parent school partnership, methods of parental involvement in education, methods to train parents; diagnosis and problem solving in hearing impaired children, systematic observation and feedback.