Action for Reducing Inequalities in Education


Research shows that poverty affects cognitive development of children more than factors such as parents’ education or parents’ cognitive abilities. Poor and low SES children perform significantly worse than their middle-class peers on many indicators of academic success such as: test scores, grade retention, course failures, high school graduation rate, high school dropout rate and completed years of schooling. 

The ARISE – Action for Reducing Inequalities in Education – project is a platform created by a pool of NEPC members NGOs and research institutes from Western Balkans and Turkey (IPA countries) that will support schools, grassroots organisations and policy makers in developing actions and policies aimed at mitigating the effect of low socio-economic status on students’ achievement, reducing inequalities in education.

25 schools will receive support to implement a 2-year school development programme, based on whole school approach and mentoring, to reduce disparities of poverty. Consortium members will support schools to develop sustainable practices in that direction, including school staff training, school projects, school policies, community involvement.

Within the project, NEPC will lead the policy outreach and advocacy: in each IPA beneficiary country, at least one grassroots organisation will be selected to partner in the project and national coalitions of stakeholders working on poverty and exclusion issues will be established. Also, regional policy lab, a series of national events and an international conference will be organised.

The project foresees the following results

  • social mechanisms and institutional effects related to inequality identified at national and regional level 
  • increased awareness among policy makers and educational stakeholders on the effect of SES on schooling and well-being of children
  • local grassroots organisations empowered for advocacy and project design 
  • impact of poverty on school achievement and overall well-being of low SES students in 25 schools alleviated

The project started in April 2020 and it will last for 4 years. More information is available on the project website.


ARISE Project

ARISE (Action for Reducing Inequalities in Education) is a 4-year project launched in March 2020 and is supported under the IPA (Pre-Accession Assistance Tool).

The main goal of the ARISE project is to strengthen the policy development and advocacy capacities of NGOs working in the fields of justice and equality in education through regional collaborations and national coalitions. The countries and non-governmental organizations involved in the project are as follows; Center for Education Policy (CAF) from Albania, Step by Step from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo Education Center (KEC) from Kosovo, Center for Education Policy (CEP) from Serbia, Network of Education Policy (NEPC) from Croatia , Step by Step from North Macedonia and Education Reform Initiative (ERG) from Turkey.

Within the scope of the project, a two-level study will be carried out for the problem of poverty and the students affected by this problem: producing long-term solutions to ensure equality in education through education policies and social policies, and simultaneously producing solutions and policy analyses for the priority needs of children in socioeconomically disadvantaged conditions with pilot applications to be carried out in schools. To access detailed information about the project: [] and []

ARISE Project Pilot Application:

Local Project Title: For a Head Start: Inclusive Early Childhood Education

“Education is a Distant Dream to Us” ( report is designed based on field data. The problematic and intervention area of the project: The discriminatory practices and prejudiced attitudes in schools cause low enrollment rates and high absenteeism rates for Dom and Abdal children.

The goal of the project: Basically, it is aimed to ensure that Dom children make a stronger start in their first contact with the school. For this reason, the school level to be intervened is pre-school. Preschool education is very important for children’s social-emotional, language and cognitive development, gaining self-care skills and readiness for primary education. Preliminary fieldwork has shown us that Dom children have no access to pre-school education.

At this point, the importance of pre-school education is higher for disadvantaged children with low socio-economic status. Because this period is very important for children’s identity construction, self-expression, sense of self-confidence, personal care, physical and mental development.

In addition, attention was paid to include all stakeholders in the fields of activity in order to minimize the discrimination that Dom children experience due to their ethnic identities and daily lifestyles from the first moment they contact the school.

The project, which is planned as 30 months, covers the 2021-2022/2022-2023 academic years. The project is practically carried out at Bahattin Teymur Primary School in the Şirinevler neighborhood of Gaziantep / Şehitkamil, where Dom community live intensely.

Şirinevler district, which is one of the peripheries of the city, is one of the historical migration places of Dom communities. Today, along with the Dom community, Kurds, Turkmens, and refugees from Syria live together in the neighborhood. In recent years, high-rise collective housings have been built by TOKI on the periphery of the neighborhood, so new residents have come to the neighborhood from outside. Dom families living in the neighborhood are defined by other communities with the generic name “Gurbet/Qurbed”, “Nomads”. Community members living in this neighborhood migrate out of Gaziantep during certain periods of the year (usually from March to October) as seasonal agricultural workers or as scrap-waste collectors, especially in metropolitan cities such as Ankara and Istanbul.

Target audience in the project:

  • *Dom children of kindergarten age (5,5/6 years old) who will enroll in 1st grade next year,
  • *Parents of Dom children,
  • * Non-Dom children and their parents
  • *School administration, teachers and especially kindergarten teachers
  • Fields of Activity
  • *Preschool Supports
  • *Mother Support Trainings
  • *Teacher Support Trainings