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Journal of Education and Sociology, ISSN: 2078-032X, Vol. 4. No. 2.

C. Kilic. Father education programs in Turkey. Journal of Education and Sociology 2013; 4(2), 114-118.
DOI: 10.7813/jes.2013/4-2/17


Cigdem Kilic
Abant Izzet Baysal University, Faculty of Education, Bolu (TURKEY)
DOI: 10.7813/jes.2013/4-2/17
As the family structure has evolved from large family to nuclear family, it became more difficult
for families to access informal sources concerning child education. Due to not only rapid changes in
public, but also changes in parents roles and lives, traditional support systems has begun to collapse.
Because of all stated reasons, it appears that parents inevitably need support. Although mothers
importance in childs education can not be denied, fathers support is also essential. In order to have
enough support of fathers in childs education, fathers education is one of the most current issue to be
handled in adult education. In this study, in the scope of lifelong learning and adult education, it is
aimed to review the father educations as well as the applications to get the support of fathers during
pre-school education period. The issue was examined by literature review and discussed with the
information obtained.
Key words: Lifelong Learning; Adult Education; Early Childhood; Parent Education; Father
According to contemporary education sense, education is not limited with school education,
rather is a lifelong process. Therefore life-long education is composed of and covering levels of
education and formats, pre-school, primary, secondary and higher, formal, informal educations. In
competitive societies where globalization has speeded up, the lifelong learning for adults which is the
crucial means of life quality improvement covers not only non-formal education, updating education
and second chance education, but also formal education and individual learning (Ministry of
Education, 2009).
Life-long education/learning is a frequently addressed subject in discussions concerning the
education as a solution center in solving real life problems encountered after school. Because the
school system itself is quite far from meeting educational needs. So, there is an obvious need for
education opportunities to solve adult problems after school (Bagci, 2011).
Adult education is the combination of all educational processes aiming at the development of
any area on voluntary basis without content, level or method limitation, to the individuals who had own
self-confidence, has taken his own responsibility and has already accumulated a certain life
experience (Yayla, 2009). However, adult education itself is not an education, but rather a sub-system
and an essential component of life-long education/learning (State Planning Organisation, 2001). Adult
education is also different from vocational education, which is mostly workplace-based for skill
improvement; and also from non-formal adult education, including learning skills or learning for
personal development (Memon et al., 2011).
Adult education programs are classified as supplementary education programs, education
programs for professional and technical competence, programs designed for health, welfare and
family life, civilization programs, self-fulfillment programs based on individual needs. One of the widely
applied socio-cultural programs is Early Childhood Education program. Various early childhood
education programs are carried out in many provinces across Turkey by means of Community
Education Centers. These programs are adult education programs aiming to contribute multi-phase
development of children by educating their parents (Kilic, 2012).


Journal of Education and Sociology, ISSN: 2078-032X, Vol. 4. No. 2. 2013

Family education is a very important part of adult education considered within life-long
education. In the conducted scientific studies, it was concluded that children supported at school or
home had progressed a lot (Early Head Start Report, 2001). Many family education programs are
designed for families having children in early childhood since the positive future effects of the early
childhood education starting at early ages and support programs for children and families are very well
known. Early support in the future leads to benefit more from education, get better and healthier living
conditions, employment, higher economic earnings and social recovery (Kamerman, 2000; Kagitcibasi
et al., 2005).
The family - as being the smallest and the most important item of society - is a unit where the
physical, emotional and social needs of individuals are met. The familys effect on one individuals life
is an unignorable fact, such that family is the unit where foundations of childs personality development
and socialization are laid of. This socialization affects non-family relationships, identity recovery, social
competence, personality development and public adoptation directly in the coming years (Ermis,
2008). Also the family plays a crucially important role in the dissemination of formal and informal
education. Family characteristics represent a number of variables like education, occupation, income,
gender status, size of siblings, beliefs, neighborhood and community having implication on the
educational performance of the child/ward (Memon et al., 2012).
Under current conditions, overemployement of parents and their focus on solving the financial
problems of the family often lead to a lack of communication between parents and children and to the
potential alienation (Metlykova & Korobkova, 2012). The families require family education in order to
build a healthier relationship with their children and to get scientific knowledge.
Within the scope of family education in Turkey and in the world, education opportunities are
usually served to mothers. However, the fathers role in child's development is as much important as
mothers. In recent years, the research findings concerning the father identity and the importance of
fathers in raising children has boosted interest in father education. Researches exhibit that fathers
participation in childs education positively affects childs development in various aspects. According to
Gursimsek and others (2007), the children of the fathers -who are involved in their childrens
education- are more developed in terms of basic mental, academic, language skills, psycho-social
cohesion, independent acting skills compared with uninvolved fathers children, and those children
produce a better adult-child relationship and less behavioral problems. According to the effectiveness
of father education study conducted by Mother Child Education Foundation during 2001-2002 on 1379
fathers, positive behavioral changes have been observed in fathers, their children and their spouses
which can directly be linked with the progam (Kocak, 2004).
Until recently, in the studies analyzing parent-child relationship, the word parent referred
merely to mothers. Likely, the core people targeted by visual and audio publications guding parents in
child education was usually mothers while very few of them mentioned the role and importance of
father in childs life. As a result of this perspective for a long time, researchers studying the
development of pre-school children in the family almost neglected the father (Taskin, 2011).
Today, mothers look after their children more than necessary where it is the opposite for
fathers. However, very few fathers do not spare time for their children. Sparing half an hour for
children, a short ride, dinner conversation is very important for children. The child learns many life
knowledge from his father that is not written anywhere or that is not taught by teachers (Catikkas,
Father has a very important role in the growth and development of the child. An effective father
role affects the development of a child positively in every manner. Father, as being one of the most
important stimulants a child may need, is effective in mental development of the child. According to
Kirac, father is not only influencing the mental development of the child by his direct attitudes, but also
he contributes by regulating the environment. One of the most important roles of father's effect is on
the sexual development of the child. The congenital characteristics of a girl or a boy can be developed
only by monitoring and imitating a healthy model (Kirac, 2008). Looking into the impact of father
participation in social and emotional development of children while setting some variables like family
income, mother's involvement, parentsage, newborn health to a constant, there was still positive
correlation (Cabrera et al., 2000).


Journal of Education and Sociology, ISSN: 2078-032X, Vol. 4. No. 2. 2013

In Turkey, the society does not provide any training to fathers when they become fathers. Men
can not allocate time to have an education in their daily routine. In Turkey, there are not many studies
analyzing the effect of father involvement on child development; on the contrary there are many
studies for mother involvement. Over the years, during parent education sessions, mothers repeatedly
expressed the need for also fathers education (Kocak, 2004). Therefore, there is a need for a father
education program. In Turkey, the need is met with the programs held by the Mother Child Education
Foundation and Ministry of Education.
Father education, for the first time in Turkey, had been designed by the Mother Child Education
Foundation and was started to implement as a pilot project in 1996. Since 1999, the education
program had begun to be implemented in a large-scale. During 2002-03 education year, the program
was revised, total duration was decreased from 15 weeks to 13 weeks, the content was improved and
continued to implement under the name of "father support training program" with the participation of
the Ministry of Education and UNICEF (Kocak, 2004; Kilic, 2012).
In 2012, the program was revised and was included in the 0-18 Age Family Education Program.
This program was then splitted into two seperate programs as "3-6 Years Father Support Education"
and "7-11 Years Father Support Education". New programs duration was set to 10 weeks. The
duration was organized as 10 sessions, one session per week each of which had a different theme.
Duration was arranged as 40 hours in total, 4 hours per week. In the program, some of the topics were
the role of the father, listening and storytelling, positive behavioral development, family attitudes,
mental, physical, sexual, social, emotional development, spending time with children, life challenges
and fatherhood, healthy sex life, relationship with pre-school education and primary school
preparation Two weeks of the program was spared for mothers during which mothers were informed
about the program and the issues related to their children's education (Ministry of Education, 2012).
Program is implemented by counselors, adult education teachers, primary school teachers and
social workers in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Family and Social Policies
and Mother-Child Education Foundation. To increase the participation of fathers, the sessions are held
either in the evenings or at the weekends (ACEV). Father Support Education Program has not yet
been implemented all over Turkey. According to 2012 year data, in 41 cities, 1753 Father Support
Education Program was started and a total of 43,638 father benefited from these programs (ACEV).
Aside of Father Support Training Program, two activities are initiated by Mother-Child
Education Foundation. The first one is "You are my father" campaign launched during 2012 in Father's
Day. This campaign was adopted from another father education campaign named as Men Care
prosecuted in international platforms. Within the scope of the campaign, the children find the chance
to send varios messages such as "You are the most powerful man I have ever met", You are my
playmate, You hug me tight, You do not hurt me", "You do listen to me listen carefully" etc. The
second one is You are my father campaign aiming to increase awareness about "the importance of
fatherhood and the role of fathers in childs and family life". With this campaign, it is also aimed to
encourage fathers to be more democratic, responsible and non-violent, to increase fathers
responsibility for the child and also to promote gender equalization in the society (ACEV).
Another study that is carried out by Mother-Child Education Foundation concerning father
education is the "It is nice to be Daddy television program aiming to introduce Father Support
Program. In 2006, for the first time, the tv program was prepared as a documentary broadcasting on
the weekends for 8 weeks consisting of parts like the concept of fatherhood, street interviews,
images of Father Support Program group practices, interviews with the fathers, their wives and their
children participating the program, interviews with experts. With this tv program, it was determined
that the awareness of the importance of the father in childs life and the number of fathers who wanted
to participate Father Support Program had increased (ACEV).
Due to not only rapid changes in public, but also changes in parents roles and lives, traditional
support systems has begun to collapse. Considering these reasons, it seems inevitable that the
parents need professional support. Although mothers importance in childs education can not be
denied, fathers support is also essential. In order for fathers to take an active role in the development
and education of children within the family, there is a need for planned and programmed educational
As result of recent studies, despite the fact that fathers are as much important as mothers in
child education, both in Turkey and in the world, there is no or negligible number of programs
supporting fathers. However, according to researches, the participation of fathers to these programs is


Journal of Education and Sociology, ISSN: 2078-032X, Vol. 4. No. 2. 2013

high as long as appropriate programs are offered (Kartal, 2010). When analyzing the father education
programs in Turkey, the programs held within the context of adult education does not have a long
history. Parent training programs implemented in the country, yet, is not spread to all over the country,
so limited number of fathers can be accessed. Therefore, the father education programs should be
laid out all over the country provided that necessary conditions are maintained. The fathers
participation in father education programs should be provided by diversifying the existing programs
and also by increasing the number of programs in cooperation with the public institutions, foundations,
associations or non-governmental organizations.
On the other hand, in Turkey, fathers awareness of father education programs concerning early
childhood education is not very high compared with mother education programs. In order to increase
social awareness and demand for fathers education, info campaigns should be organized throughout
the country. Apart from that, by analyzing father education programs in different countries and
adopting them to Turkey conditions, Turkish fathers may benefit from the educational experiences of
foreign fathers.
There are few scientific studies researching the effectiveness of father education programs held
in Turkey and existing few studies served for status analysis. However, as being true for all other
regular education programs, scientific studies are needed analyzing the father education programs in
terms of program items together with the program outcomes. With the help of those studies, the
education process would be assessed in a wider perspective and the existing problems would be
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