Elementary and middle school
In Turkey there is a compulsory education of eight years for all children. A child’s school career begins with five years of elementary school, followed by three years in middle school. During this mandatory period, children can go to school free of charge, but families have to pay for equipment such as school uniforms and books. The children then receive a diploma with which they can apply for secondary schools.
Nevertheless, there are still children in Turkey who only go to school for five years or even not at all. Especially in the east and south-east of the country, where the infrastructure is inadequate and poverty is greater, not all children have access to education.
Secondary schools in Turkey
If you have successfully completed primary and secondary school, there are general or vocational high schools where you can continue learning. They’re free, but only for children who pass the entrance exam. There are also private schools where you can be accepted without an entrance exam. Of course, this only applies to children whose parents can afford the costs. If you have made it to high school and then want to study, you have to take another university entrance exam. In the state and free schools, however, the preparation of the students is not as good as, for example, in the expensive private schools. That is why it is not always so easy for children from poor backgrounds to get an extensive and good school education in Turkey.
Vocational training instead of school?
Vocational training lasts between three and five years. During the apprenticeship you have a “master” and you are the “apprentice”. This is what they call it in Germany, by the way, where some young people do an apprenticeship after school. In Turkey, however, the need for artisans is much greater than here, so it is much more common there. When you have successfully completed your apprenticeship, you get a title: Kalfa. After a few more years of work, you can, for example, open a workshop yourself.
There is still a lot that could be improved in the Turkish school system. This is exactly what has been tried again and again in recent years. For example, you want to offer a path between high school and teaching in which you can learn “dual”. This means that, on the one hand, you do practical training in a company, but at the same time you also go to school and receive theoretical training there. As a student or apprentice, you would be less dependent on your company and the training of young people would be more uniform. For many small craft businesses in Turkey, however, it has not been so easy to adapt to this system in recent years, so that there are still problems with implementation.
Chool and religion
As a country located in Middle East according to itypetravel, Turkey is actually a secular state. This means that the government cannot dictate or control what religion you practice. State and religion are therefore separate. This advanced system was introduced by the founder of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. A few years ago, for example, you could still decide for yourself whether you wanted to attend religious instruction.
In 1980 there was a military coup in Turkey. The new military government reintroduced compulsory religious education in schools. Even today, lessons are compulsory. It is not only a problem that besides Sunni Islam no other religions are taught, but also that some of the school books are sometimes misrepresented. This discriminates against minorities and excludes people of different faiths. The government of Turkey therefore has a strong influence on the school system and thus also the opinion-forming of many people.
Turkey as an EU member?
The EU has strict rules on how a country that wants to become a member must behave in many areas. This also applies to education. Religious freedom must be guaranteed, and in a country that only teaches one religion for all children, this is not the case. From 2011 the AKP became more and more radical and they pursued other goals than just admission to the EU. The textbooks, which have to be approved by the government before going to schools, were very one-sided. Sunni Islam in particular was taught therein. For children who were Alevi, Jewish, Shiite, Christian, not religious at all or who believed in any other faith, this was of course a restriction. Many complained about this change, for example to the European Court of Human Rights.