Education reform law takes effect
ANKARAThe controversial education law which re-opened the secondary school stage to religious vocational high schools, or imam-hatips, and introduced the Quran as an elective course took effect yesterday, after approval from President Abdullah Gül.
The legislation, which passed despite unprecedented fistfights and squabbles in Parliament, will extend compulsory education from eight to 12 years and restructure the education process into three tiers of four years each.
Under the new law, students select a vocational school after four years of primary education, choosing from options that now include imam-hatip religious schools that were previously forbidden for students under the age of 15.
The law will also give students the option of doing home study for the third tier. Critics of the law say this is a contentious measure, which will undermine the education of girls. The law enables students to take Quranic studies and the life of the Prophet Mohammed as elective courses.
The President also approved a bill paving the way for the release of thousands of convicts on probation. It is expected to result in the release of approximately 15,000 inmates by the end of the year and an average of up to 14,000 convicts each year following.