There is a popular saying that education is the bedrock of any nation. Any country that aspires to be great must place emphasis on her education sector. Finland’s education is continuously ranked above that of the United States because the government of Finland funds all the schools in the country. The government of Turkey, through sweeping reforms, is aiming to transform the country’s education sector by 2023.
Following his appointment as the education minister, Ziya Selçuk has been busy making consultations with every person or group that has a stake in education in the country particularly the NGOs which were hitherto shut out from the ministry. Selçuk’s efforts culminated into a workshop tagged, “The Education System in Turkey Towards 2023”.
The Main Issues Facing Turkish Education
Selçuk seized the opportunity presented by the workshop which had over 100 guests and over 30 NGO in attendance to discuss diverse topics concerning education in Turkey ranging from curriculum, school environment, teachers, exam system, sports, cultural and art events. Some of the problems that disturb parents and educators which the workshop tried to address included;
- The king of education curriculum and education program that will be most suitable for the nation as well as how students can be educated to be happy, skilful, and well-behaved
- The kind of teachers needed to be in tune with the modern world without neglecting traditional codes
- The component of the environment that will constitute quality education
- Precautions that should be in place to eliminate the differences among different regions
- Criteria for selecting students and placement examinations
- The most effective way to monitor, evaluate and supervise the education system
- The best way to integrate culture, arts and sports into the education system.
The aim of the education reform in Turkey is to increase productivity, justice, and make the nation’s education system sustainable. Turkey is not the only country with an unjust school system. Similar criticisms and injustice have been reported in the ACT school system in Australia.
The 2023 Education Vision Program
Since coming into power in 2002, one of the key agenda of the AK Party has been how to revamp the education system. Speaking at the Ministry of National Education organised 2023 Education Vision program, the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, used the opportunity to mention some of the government’s achievements in the education sector including the raising of the education budget to 92 billion Turkish Liras from 7.5 billion. Addressing the attendees, the President said,
“We’ve worked really hard to change the infrastructure of the education system and to get rid of the various prohibitions of the previous regime. Compulsory education has been increased to 12 years and this has been maintained through the 4+4+4 system.”
Source: The New Turkey
Turkey has ample pre-schools but it is not compulsory for parents to send their children to any of these schools. However, the President made it clear that efforts are being made to make this compulsory. There is also an on-going process to develop teacher’s standards to a level that can compete globally.