5. Education



 The Turkish National Education System

In Turkey education is performed under the supervision and control of the state. According to Article 42 of the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey, everyone has the right to receive education. Individuals are educated by orienting them to various programs and schools throughout their education, depending on their interests and capabilities. It is essential that the educational system should realize this orientation.

The objective of education, according Basic Law No. 1739 for National Education, is to educate individuals:

• Who adopt the values of the Turkish nation,
• Who know the duties and responsibilities to their country and have made them a part of their behavior,
• Who can produce knowledge, can utilize the knowledge and technology produced, and
• Who are democratic citizens and respect human rights.

Furthermore, the objective of the National Education System also includes preparing them for the future and providing for them to acquire a profession that will contribute to the happiness of themselves and the society.

From the first years of the Republic up until the present, great increases were obtained in the number of schools, students and teachers, and activities aimed at educating qualified manpower were made and a vast group of people were educated. At every branch and level of the education system there realized an increase of 12 times in the number of schools, 45 times in the number of students and 46 times in the number of teachers.

Since education is considered as the most significant component of economic, social and technological development in the country, great importance is placed on education both in the government and development plans. Therefore, continuous increases in the resources are being made in order to meet the educational requirements of the population. For the formation of the infrastructure that will meet the goals and expectations in education, the preparations for the Educational Master Plan, including the years

The Current Situation in Education (1999-2000 School Year)

Primary School
Secondary School
General High Schools
Vocational and Tech. High School
Total Formal Education
Non-formal Education

1996-2010, have been made. Also the activities are continuing in the direction of making the education flexible so that it answers the individual, national and global demands for education and to facilitate entering and leaving the educational system.

The Structure of the Turkish Education System.

The Turkish National Educational System is composed of two main sections:

• Formal Education and
• Non-formal Education in accordance with Basic Law No. 1739 for National Education.

Formal Education means the school system and comprises the institutions of preschool education, primary education, secondary education and higher education. Non- formal education includes all the activities organized outside or alongside the school. In the 1999-2000 school year, a total of 15,727,929 students received education training in 65,905 formal and non-formal educational institutions and 532,595 teachers worked in these institutions.

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 Educational Institutions

 Preschool Education

In Turkey, preschool education, which is optional, includes the education of children in the 3-5 years of age group, who are not at the age for obligatory primary education. Preschool education is given in kindergartens, preparatory classrooms, application classrooms, day nurseries, nursery schools, daycare homes, and child care homes by various ministries and institutions, and by the Ministry of National Education most of all. The children can benefit from these institutions for a full or a half day.

The goal of preschool education is to help children develop physically, mentally and individually, and develop their ability to use language and prepare them for primary school. Where, and according to what priorities, the preschool educational institutions will be opened are determined with a regulation prepared by the Ministry of National Education. Efforts are underway for spreading preschool education, for informing public opinion and for the development and standardization of educational materials and equipment.

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Primary Education

The duration of primary education in Turkey is 8 years and includes the education and training of children in the 6-14 years of age group. The primary education institutions consist of eight-year schools, uninterrupted education is carried out in these schools and a diploma of primary education is given to graduates. The fact that primary education is compulsory for all male and female citizens and it is free of charge in the State schools is guaranteed in the Constitution, Basic Law for National Education and the Law for Primary Education and Training.

The objective of primary education is to provide children with the required basic knowledge, ability, behavior and habits for them to become good citizens and to prepare them for life and further education according to their interests and abilities. Furthermore, in the second semester of the final year of primary education the students are informed with guidance services on the subjects of the schools, programs and choice of occupation.

In order to improve the application on primary education and to increase quality, "Project 2000 on Catching The Age in Education" has been put into practice. Within the extent of this project, 26,745 classrooms have been put into service in the last year; 290,468 students have been provided with the opportunity for boarding study in boarding schools and in the pensioned schools for primary education; foreign language lessons and elective second foreign language lessons have started to be given beginning from the 4th year of primary education; educational material have been devised, again with a student-oriented understanding, and courses have been opened in order to make teachers literate on computers. Furthermore, besides the State schools, there are also many private primary education schools which provide students educational services in return for a tuition.

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Secondary Education

Secondary education includes all the general, vocational and technical institutions of education, based on primary education, that give at least three- years education, and consists of high schools that apply various programs. Every student who completes primary education and who has a right to enter secondary education can benefit from the opportunities of secondary education. The objective of secondary education is to provide the students with a common general culture at a minimum level and to prepare them to be ready for taking responsibility for the democratic society, to make them respectful of human rights and to prepare them for higher education or business life in the direction of their interests, abilities and capabilities with a consciousness for contributing to the socio-economic and cultural development of the country.

Students are educated by being oriented towards various programs or schools, in the direction and in proportion to their interests, abilities and capabilities throughout their education. Some of the secondary schools and the private secondary schools, have foreign language preparatory classes, in conformity with the targets of the educational programs, and education in a foreign language is provided in science group and mathematics.

Secondary education is classified as general secondary education and vocational-technical secondary education. Within the scope of the general secondary education there are five kinds of schools, namely the Anatolian High Schools, the Science High Schools, the Anatolian Fine Arts and Teachers High Schools, the evening high schools and private high schools. And the vocational-technical institutions of secondary education are gathered in seven groups as the Technical High Schools for Girls and Boys, the Commerce and Tourism Schools, Religious Education Schools, Special Education Schools, Private Education Schools and Vocational Schools of Medicine. Along with these, in places with less and scattered population, and in places approved by the Ministry of Education, high schools with a multi-program that apply vocational-technical education programs may be opened. Besides preparing students for higher education, students are educated for the fields of occupation and vocation in these schools, with the objective of meeting the need for qualified individuals for various professions and to prevent over-application of students at the universities.

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Special Education

The special education services in Turkey are carried out in special education schools established according to disability groups. Today special education services are provided for children and youth in five different disability groups, including blindness, deafness, orthopedic disabilities, mental retardation and long-term illnesses. The objective of special education is to meet the educational needs of individuals who need special training, to integrate them into society and provide them with a vocation. The students who need special training are also provided with the opportunity of receiving education at the regular schools together with the students of their own age. An attempt is being made to spread this application which is called "combining".

There are 229 special training schools and 104 centers of guidance and research in Turkey for students who need to receive special training due to their physical, mental, emotional and social developmental disabilities or super abilities. In the 1999-2000 school year, a total of 25,217 students benefited from special education schools and institutions.

Preschool education is compulsory for children who are diagnosed as having a need for special training. An "Individual Training Plan" is prepared for each child and the children are trained according to the level of performance they can attain. The participation of families are provided at every stage of the training of the individuals who need special education and special training support is given to students in combined education. Furthermore, job and vocational programs for adults who need special training are organized and it is attempted to continue the activities to make these programs widespread.

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Private Education

These educational institutions are composed of every stage and type of schools opened in accordance with Law No. 625 and private classrooms and courses. These institutions continue their activities under the supervision and surveillance of the Ministry of National Education. When the dimensions of educational activities are taken into consideration, it appears that it will be beneficial for some of the educational services to be carried out by the private sector. As a matter of fact, in 1997 the necessary legal amendments were made to make private education institutions widespread, to ensure the investment of entrepreneurs in the field of education, and great facilities were provided to the private sector on this subject.

Extensive opportunities are provided for students in fee-paying private schools and especially foreign language education and education by computer are emphasized. A total of 246,514 students received education at 1,788 private schools at the level of preschool, primary and secondary education in the 1999-2000 school year and 22,864 teachers taught at these schools. Furthermore, educational activities were carried out in this school year at 2,895 private courses and 1,730 private classrooms. The share of private schools in general education today is 1.5 percent. It is planned to be increased to 6 percent in the short-term and to 15 percent in the long-term.

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Non-formal Education

Non-formal Education. Non-formal education, one of the two main components of the national education system, includes training, education, guidance and application activities organized in addition to, or outside of, formal education for individuals who have never entered the formal education system, or individuals who are at a certain level of the formal education, or who have left at these levels. The objective of non-formal education is to teach reading and writing to adults who did not have the opportunity to learn reading and writing, to give them basic information, to develop their knowledge and abilities acquired during the last educational level that they attended and to create new opportunities to enable them to earn their living.

Non-formal education is composed of two basic components which are general and vocational technical non-formal educational programs. The Practical Arts Schools for Girls, Advanced Technical Schools for Girls, Industrial Practical Arts Schools, Technical Education Centers for Adults, Public Education Centers and Apprenticeship Training Centers are some of the non-formal education institutions. Non-formal education may be classified as public education, apprenticeship training and distance education.

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Public Education

A great majority of the educational activities organized outside of formal education institutions are carried out by the public education centers. Literacy courses, vocational courses and social and cultural courses are offered at these centers for individuals at every age and educational level. Activities for the expansion and development of the public education centers in Turkey are continuing. In 1999, 48,413 vocational, socio-cultural and literacy courses were offered in 920 public education centers and 961,044 participants were educated.

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Apprenticeship Training

Apprenticeship Training. Apprenticeship training includes the training of children and youth in the secondary school age group who have completed primary education but could not receive a higher level of education, or those who have remain-ed outside of formal education for various reasons. Those young people who are at least primary school graduates and between 14 and 19 years of age can receive apprenticeship training. As a result of arrangements made by the Law of Apprenticeship and Vocational Training, vocational training system has assumed three basic field of application as formal vocational training, apprenticeship training and vocational courses.

Those who finish formal vocational training may enter master's examination after a year of work experience. Apprenticeship training, in its turn, has a duration of 3 to 4 years. Those who complete this training may enter the journeyman examination. Candidates who get the right to receive a journeyman certificate may enter the master's examination after three years of work experience provided that they continue mastership training, otherwise a full five years of work experience is required. Those who do not receive a master-ship certificate cannot open an independent workplace and cannot work as a master. Vocational courses are held with the aim of providing employment opportunities for individuals who left the system of formal education and who did not have the necessary qualification. The participants may benefit from the rights given by the related law to apprentice students.

Those who work at a workplace included in the vocations within the scope of the law and who have signed an apprenticeship contract, can benefit completely from their rights as students, and their insurance premiums during their training are paid by the Ministry of National Education.

In 1999, 228,844 students received apprenticeship training at 330 centers. In the year 2000, all the working youth is planned to be provided with apprenticeship training.

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Distance Education

Every Turkish citizen is provided with the service of distance education so as to realize equality of opportunity in education and to support education given in the institutions of secondary education. Within the scope of distance education services, open primary education school and open education high school are available.

Open primary education school, started by the application of eight-year uninterrupted compulsary primary education, provides, by the method of distance education, those individuals who have already graduated primary school but could not continue secondary school for any reason, the opportunity of completing eight-year primary education. There are 137,847 students in open primary education school in the 1999-2000 school year.

Open education high school provides service for those students who were not able to continue in formal education institutions for various reasons, or who have passed the age for formal education or who want to move to open education high school while in formal education. There are 368,108 students in open education high schools in the 1999-2000 school year.

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Organization of the Education Abroad

Educational and training services are provided for Turkish citizens living abroad through 39 representations, including 21 Educational Consultancies and 18 Educational Attachés. There are Turkish Educational Consultancies in Washington, London, Paris, Berlin, the Hague, Brussels, Bern, Vienna, Stockholm, Riyadh, Moscow, Tbilisi, Nicosia, Cairo, Copenhagen, Almaty, Ashkhabad, Baku, Bishkek, Dushanbe, Tashkent, and Turkish Education Attachés in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Strasbourg, Essen, Frankfurt, Hannover, Karlsruhe, Nuremberg, Munster, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Mainz, Stuttgart, Munich, Berlin, Hamburg, Lion and Sydney.

There are 867,095 Turkish students receiving education abroad and 974 teachers providing education who are sent from Turkey. Morever, there are 41 instructors at Turcology chairs of universities abroad. Within the framework of coperation started with the Central Asian Republics and the Turkish Communities in the field of education-training; 12 schools and 8 Training Centers were opened in the Central Asian Republics by the Ministry of National Education. Education and training services are given in these places to 2,485 students by 345 teachers. Within the quotas allocated for the Central Asian Republics, there are currently 7,425 students from these countries in Turkey.

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International Cooperation

Turkey has educational, scientific and cultural agreements with 71 countries and activities related to these are continuing. Presently, six projects are being carried out by the Educational Committee of the European Council member countries. Participation in projects, carried out under the main headings "Democracy, Human Rights and Minorities; Educational and Cultural Cooperation" included in the program of the "European Council Cultural Cooperation Board", has been provided since 1993. Along with this, the UNESCO Sister Schools Project, the Southeastern Mediterranean Project aimed at developing a consciousness of the environment, and Globe Program are among other projects which are being carried out. Furthermore, The Ministry of National Education actively participates in the activities of the Educational Committees of the OECD and of the Center for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI).

The development of cooperation with European Union (EU) in the field of education has gained momentum with Turkey's achieving the status of full candidacy to the EU in 1999. In Turkey, which is also accepted for the participation in Leonardo da Vinci including the projects in the field of vocational education- and Socrates -dealing with general education- Programs of EU, various preparation studies are carried out for active participation in the second phase activities of these programs to take place in the period 2000-2006. Within the structure of the Ministry of National Education, the EU Consultation, Administration, Research and Development Committes are formed and there are various studies to harmonize the national legislation of education with the EU law. The projects of "Modernization of the Vocational and Technical Education Institutions", "Reinforcement of the Vocational Education and Training System in Turkey" and "Support of Basic Education" are, for the time being, carried out within the scope of Europe Mediterranean Countries Cooperation (MEDA) programs of the EU.

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 Higher Education

In Turkey, escalation of higher education to live up to the fully-globalizing world, in terms of both quality and quantity, has been adopted as the primary goal. The plans and programs made have always reflected this perception. As a matter of fact, since the foundation of the Republic until the present, important developments have been made in higher education from the aspect of quality and quantity. This development process, which started in 1933 when the Darülfünun was transformed into Istanbul University, gained momentum especially in recent years, and as of 2000, the number of universities reached 71, 18 of which are private foundation universities.

In Turkey, the higher education includes all the educational institutions after secondary education, which provide at least two years of higher education and educate students for associate's, bachelor's, master's or doctorate degree levels. Institutions of higher education consist of universities, faculties, institutes, schools of higher education, conservatories, vocational schools of higher education and application-research centers. During the 1999-2000 school year a total of 1,503,981 students, including the open university students, receive education at higher education institutions and a total of 64,169 faculty members work. In the structure of these 73 universities, 2 of which are still in the regulatory process of establishment, there are 561 faculties, 199 schools of higher education, 259 institutes and 474 vocational schools of higher education. With the objective of educating teaching staff for the universities, the number of students receiving education abroad with official and private scholarships are 29,196 with 21,282 at bachelor's degree level and 7,914 at master's or doctorate degree levels.

A great majority of the students receiving higher education in Turkey are receiving Education and Contribution (Expenses) loans from the Higher Education Credit and Dormitories Institution (Yurt-Kur). Dormitories are provided to meet the accommodation needs of the students. The monthly student loans and loan allocation quotas are increased annually and it is ensured that more students benefit from this opportunity every year. At present, a total of 220,614 students at associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctorate degree levels are being paid educational loans and 228,435 students benefit from the contribution loans. A total of 174,373 students including 89,611 female and 84,762 male students benefit from the dormitory services, supported by nutrition, health, guidance and consultation services, and social, cultural, and athletic activities. Furthermore, the state, the private sector, and the nongovernmental organizations provide scholarships for the successful students.

Faculties and higher education institutions connected to the universities accept students according to the results of the one-stage examinations held once a year by the Center for Student Selection and Placement (ÖSYM) connected to the Higher Education Council. A separate examination is held every year by ÖSYM for the foreign students who want to receive their higher education in Turkey. Because the language of the examination is both in Turkish and English, it is not necessary to know Turkish in order to take this examination. Students who pass the examination and acquire the right to receive higher education in Turkey and whose knowledge of Turkish is inadequate, are considered to be on leave for one year to learn the language after they have registered at the university. The Turkish Education Center (TÖMER), affiliated to Ankara University, provides services to teach Turkish to foreigners. Furthermore, universities in Istanbul and Izmir also offer courses for foreigners who want to learn Turkish.

The Higher Education System

All universities and higher education institutions were connected to the Higher Education Council (YÖK) which was established by Law No. 2547 dated 6 November 1981. YÖK is an autonomous organization having a public juristic personality within the framework of the duties and authorities given by the Higher Education Law, which regulates higher education and directs the activities of the higher education institutions. YÖK prepares short and long-term plans to establish and develop higher education institutions and to educate in Turkey or abroad the teaching staff required and monitors the application. Furthermore, it provides for cooperation and coordination among the higher education institutions. The Higher Education Supervisory Board, ÖSYM and other related units for planning, research, development, evaluation, budget, investment and coordination are connected to YÖK.

In the forefront of the activities planned on the subject of higher education in Turkey are the reorganization of the higher education system and freeing the higher education from a centralized and bureaucratic structure. It is planned for this purpose to increase the authority of the boards of directors of the universities and faculties, to have them acquire freedom of action on the subjects of creating sources and making expenses and to raise university- industry relations to the highest level. In 1998, a bag budget was applied at five universities. Furthermore, activities are continuing to transform YÖK into an interuniversity coordination institution, to provide full autonomy to the universities and to give the opportunity for the representation of teaching staff members, research assistants and students in the administration of the university. Additionally, great importance is placed on the subject of making the education-training system and programs conform to the international educational system and standards. Activities are continuing for providing the rapid completion of the National Academic Network and Data Center that will support on the one hand, the integration of teaching with research and joint research and on the other hand, by providing universities and research and development institutions with a rapid access to the information sources in an electronic environment at a national and international level. In recent years activities have been accelerated for the development of the open university education besides formal education to provide the opportunity for obtaining the information and skills needed by extensive groups of persons and activities for raising the quality of open university education by effective utilization of contemporary education and communication technology.

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