RIGHTS > ‘Cooperative schools’ move fuels religious, tongue row

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News

The Ministry of Customs and Trade has given approval to the establishment of cooperative schools, which can be established by groups of people sharing common values in order to educate their children according to their own will

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The Ministry of Customs and Trade has given its first approval to the establishment of cooperative schools, which is expected to fire another row on religious education. AA photo

The Ministry of Customs and Trade has given its first approval to the establishment of cooperative schools, which is expected to fire another row on religious education. AA photo

Vercihan Ziflioğlu Vercihan Ziflioğlu vercihan.ziflioglu@hurriyet.com.tr

The Ministry of Customs and Trade has given its first approval to the establishment of cooperative schools, which will supposedly fire another discussion in Turkey. According to a ministry official, any group of people who share the same values and views will have the opportunity to come together to establish a school, in which their children will be educated according to their will.

“Cooperative schools will have the National Education Ministry’s curriculum, but we aim to give people the opportunity to educate their children according to their own views and the value judgments in their own neighborhoods. If there is a 100 person-demand they can open a school by getting together, and thus provide their children with education complying with their own demands,” an official from the Ministry of Customs and Trade told the Hürriyet Daily News about the cooperative schools.

The authorities said the foundation of the first cooperative school had been laid, but they refrained from saying where. The Ministry of Customs and Trade said they were taking steps with the consent of the Education Ministry, although Education Ministry authorities told the Daily News that a statement would be made on the subject in the coming days.

The project may have been negotiated between the ministers before, but conditions may not be appropriate for cooperative schools yet, they said.

“The curriculum of schools founded by religious communities is already supervised by the Education Ministry, no one can break the rules established by the Education Ministry,” the official said after being asked about how religious schools established under the status of cooperative schools by could be taken under control.

No visa for education in native languages

“In recent years, Kurds, Circassians, Laz, and Georgians have demanded the right to receive education in their native languages. Kurds can gather and establish cooperative schools in the eastern and southeastern regions of Turkey,” the official said.

“The curriculum of Turkish Republic schools is clear. Everyone, including Kurds or others, can establish schools, but they cannot give the main education in their native language, because the official language of education is Turkish,” the official said.

“We want to represent a new model and provide new employment. More importantly, if 100 people get together and establish a school, they will be exempt from taxes. We aim to bring a breath of fresh air [to education] and develop an alternative to state and private schools,” the official said, adding that even the foreigners could establish schools in Turkey.

According to the official, the cooperative system is not known enough in Turkey and is only ever brought to the agenda when there is news of fraud to report.

“Thanks to this project, a new perspective on the notion of cooperatives will emerge in Turkey. The state will allocate land for cooperative schools and order the schools to be built within a specific period of time. School construction will be required to be finished within the given period,” the official said, adding that many appeals had been filed with the ministry about the issue.


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Notice on comments

mara mcglothin

8/6/2012 3:44:24 PM

MORSE FAN In America we do NOT call them Charter Schools, BUT PRIVATE SCHOOLS. When parents get together to educate their children, and form a school if is PRIVATELY FUNDED NOT BY THE GOVERNMENT!!! Simple, if you want to educate your kids yourself then you have to raise the money to make it happen, but then again that is also how our churches come into existence, not through government money. If you don't like what public schools offer,form your own, just don't expect the government to pay

Pyotr Ivanovich

8/6/2012 6:30:19 AM

Turkish Pdopld should wait and se what will be the first results, ehich way the whole Idea will lean to> People can easily correct the situation at the Pols during the next Elections with their Votes.

Morse Fan

8/4/2012 10:59:35 PM

Why is it that when the government wants to do things like normal western democracies everyone who reads the newspaper in Turkey goes bananas? In the U.S. we call them "charter schools," and in my state, they are dominant. Some are a lot better than regular public schools. It seems like the real argument against here is that Turkish parents are not capable of making decisions about their children's educations so the state must protect them. Now there's a free society for ya! NOT!

Sandra Jacoel

8/4/2012 6:32:41 PM

So now they're going to teach children WHAT to think-not HOW to think!

Rimon Tree

8/4/2012 4:40:07 PM

How come that every move the AKP government proposes does sound suspicious straight from the beginning? The reason must be that they are simply not trustworthy!

Blue Dotterel

8/4/2012 4:27:51 PM

Another example of how the AKP is deliberately attempting to create divisions in Turkey, so that its imperialist masters can better exploit them and destroy the Republic that the imperialists have loathed since it was formed.

Turk Uzan

8/4/2012 2:37:01 PM

This is not wonderful at all, this is disgusting. It means fundamentalists will be able to raise their children as fundamentalists, it means polarization. It means that most kids won't really know how the world works because they have no real world experience. They only know one world view, and will not accept anything else. Turkey will turn in to a MESS of small extremist groups (religious or not, all will be extremists) and unable to accept the others view. This makes me angry and sad

Johanna Dew

8/4/2012 12:58:54 PM

Most West European countries have this system and it works well as long as the curriculum set by the education ministry is set as bench mark. The schools which failed to operate in this system in Europe are the islamic schools who misused state money for religious indoctrination hence, they had to be closed.


8/4/2012 12:26:03 PM

Wonderful news! Another stip forward in the search for a democratic model in a multicultural society. Congratulations!

Faruk Beisser

8/4/2012 9:06:10 AM

Hooray! Now all with sympathy for Iran and Saudi Arabia will be founding schools to educate the Great Leaders youth as religious youth! Wonderful! Iran, watch out, soon Turkey will surpass you!
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