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Educational Policies in Turkey and Its Reflection

Edited By Figen Ereş

Education is a major political issue and a major focus of country attention. The fact that the development and knowledge brought forth by an information society is constantly being questioned and has made development and innovation in education inevitable. Education is also seen as a crucial factor in ensuring economic productivity and social development. This book examines the educational policies and results in Turkey. It states that basic problems of the Turkish education system are inequality, quality and a lack of planning. Centralized structure affects autonomy negatively in schools. The problem with education policies of the Ministry of National Education is also the lack of vision. This volume develops needed paradigms to balance the opinions of the decision makers, administrators and teachers with the preferences of the student body in Turkey.

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Turkish Educational System

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Turkey is surrounded by water on three sides, by the Black Sea to the North, the Mediterranean Sea to the South, and the Aegean Sea to the West, so it has always drawn the world’s attention due to its geopolitical positioning. Upon the decline of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk founded the Republic of Turkey in 1923 and was elected as its inaugural president (MEB [Ministry of National Education, MoNE], 1999a). Innovations and modernity in Turkey started with Ataturk’s reforms, and one of the most significant of these reforms was related to education. The national sovereignty and secular characteristic of the Republic was introduced and the foundations of an education system based on national culture, national solidarity and scientific principles were set in place (European Commission, 2010).

After the proclamation of the Republic in 1923, as in other fieldsunder Atatürk’s leadership, massive reforms were undertaken in education. Schools were annexed to the Ministry of National Education, and Islamic theological schools were abolished. Educational expansion intensified, especially at the primary school level. Five-year primary schooling became compulsory, while at the secondary level, vocational and technical education were given greater emphasis. Priority was given to the construction of school buildings and to the training of teachers. Between World War II and 1960, the education system changed rapidly into a distinctive national system, due to the social conditions of the time (MEB [Ministry of National Education, MoNE], 1999b). Since the creation of...

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