Invisible Processes at the Nursery: Changing Dynamics of Work in Turkey under Covid-19

Şafak Çubukçu Ö.

40th International Labour Process Conference Labour Mobility and Mobilization of Workers, Padua, Italy, 21 - 23 April 2022, pp.217

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Padua
  • Country: Italy
  • Page Numbers: pp.217
  • Ankara Yıldırım Beyazıt University Affiliated: Yes


The Coronavirus pandemic affected certain sectors significantly and education is among these sectors. Especially in the early days of the pandemic, the schools were shut down in most of the countries, including Turkey. Although the shift to online education prevented a severe interruption at the university level, with the help of new technologies; for younger students, the adaptation to digitalization came at a slower pace and was experienced more unequally. This process was even harder for preschool children. For most of the private preschools, command over new technologies became a prerequisite, while the duty of childcare is now combined with healthcare under pandemic conditions, as these institutions were among the first reopened places. The service provided by the nurseries has never been limited to education, but it got much more complicated due to the pandemic. The burden here is on the shoulders of mostly female and mostly young nursery teachers, who have already been working under increasingly precarious conditions in Turkey. The covid provided a new pretext for their short-term contracts, high workloads, and irregular working hours. This article focuses on the experiences of nursery teachers in Turkey during the pandemic. Based on 25 in-depth interviews, conducted with female nursery teachers under the age of 30, working on non-permanent contracts in private nurseries/preschools; it analyses changing dynamics of work within these places, changing relationship of these teachers with labour market, and their changing everyday experiences. It is suggested that the pandemic not only increased mobility of young teachers in and out of the jobs, but also worsened the working conditions during their employment due to new forms of pressures. In addition, taking over some of the burden of social reproduction, their contribution to the labour market is beyond and above what they get out of it. The article also underlines how the reproduction of gender inequality is linked to the composition of the labour market, especially in the countries of the Global South.