Trends in pre-school enrolment in Turkey: unequal access and differential consequences

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Agirdag O., Yazıcı Z., Sierens S.

COMPARATIVE EDUCATION, vol.51, no.4, pp.537-554, 2015 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 51 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/03050068.2015.1081796
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.537-554
  • Akdeniz University Affiliated: Yes


In this study, a historical and international analysis of early childhood education in Turkey is made. More specifically, we explore the trend in pre-school enrolment, compare Turkey's enrolment rate with other countries, study whether access to pre-school is related to social class and gender, and investigate the impact of pre-school attendance on later academic performance. We use data from the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) 2012 study and World Bank EdStats. The results indicate that Turkey's pre-school enrolment has strongly increased over the years. However, compared with other (newly) industrialised countries, Turkey has a very low pre-school enrolment rate. Regression analyses revealed that pupils from wealthy families are much more likely to attend pre-school than pupils from poor families, while no difference was found between girls and boys. Importantly, pre-school attendance was related to higher academic achievement, even though pupils from wealthy families benefited more than middle-class and poor pupils.