TURKEY:INNOVATION ANDTRADITIONBy Hasan Simsek and Ali Yildirim Presenter: Denis Katusiime
Some basic information on Turkey At the boundary of Europe and Asia By 2000, the population of Turkey was 67,803,000. Founded as the Republic of Turkey on October 29, 1923. Received independence under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk).
the history of Turkish educationcan be understood The Ottoman Period (Prior to 1923) The Modernization Era (1923-1950) The Quest for Democracy (1950-1980) The Crises Created by Dichotomies (1980-present).
Education in the Ottoman period Formation of the Turkish Republic in 1923. Religious teaching dominates the education system Foundations finance and govern schools with religious orientation. Government Schools influenced by western education. Foundations and Organizations outside Turkey finance private school. Girls and boys at all levels study separately. Education is not given high priority.
The Modernization Era (1923-50) A full-scale restructuring of educational institution begins. Education is for social, cultural and economic revolution in Turkey. Religious system of the Ottoman period is seen as being hostile to change &modernization. Public schools are free for all students Need to transform all sectors of society Schools with religious orientation are closed The Unification of Educational Law
Modern era continued Primary education is compulsory. Co-education begins (1924). Science (most reliable guide in life) Turkey invites John Dewey to study the school system and make recommendations. In 1927 Ataturk declares laicism (Secularism). Constitution-Islam is no longer a state religion. Latin alphabet as opposed to Arabic alphabet
Democracy and Turmoil (1950-80) Threat of communism and promotion of Nationalism in school curricula &textbooks. Village landlords gain more political power. Religious teaching returns to school. Emphasis on economic growth &democratization of society in policies. Education as a transformative tool in society is ignored. Deterioration of education and schools in a mess School facilities are no longer efficient and students and teachers find their way in the political camp.
Dichotomies in Education (1980-present) Public support military to avoid anarchy Increased centralization in the education Curriculum and textbooks become nationalistic (history, geography &biology). MONE criticized for giving in to political pressure. Students needs and interest not addressed Growth of more private institutions
Dichotomies continued. MONE started reforms but it could not maintain them (insufficient classroom space for more courses, inadequate counseling to guide students in course selection, confusion between stakeholders, and rigidities in a centralized system). Lack of confidence in government to implement educational change Adjustment to EU norms in terms of class size, departments, training etc.
Traditional Approach to Education Subject matter is the main concern Emphasis on teaching methods The student is simply a learner Students as deficient and in need of discipline and pressure to keep learning. Children go to school to learn what they do not know. Individual interests, motivations and psychological states are not given attention. Teachers are authorities and not guides.
Progressive Approach to education Focuses on children’s problem-solving ability and individual interests and needs. Teaching methods used differently Focus on how to think not what to think. Teachers are intellectual guides/facilitators in the problem-solving process not presenters of knowledge. Raises people who think freely and flexibly, who are democratic and secular.
Unrealistic reforms Establishing 41 universities in three years. Changing the entire elementary and secondary school in two to three years. Policy transfer (Finland and USA) Lack of experts and the financial power to implement the reforms. There was no support from teachers
Conclusion Turkey made a lot of reforms in education because schools, teachers and infrastructure increased. Education reform in Turkey is important but it should be gradual. Do not expect to a system in one day. The Turkish people should agree on how religion and secularism can accommodate each other in one state without overstepping other people’s values. Whatever reform is put in place, it should be contextualized (policy transfer).