ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
The Higher Education Board (YÖK) and the Education Ministry have responded positively to demands from Turkey’s 5.5 million Circassians for education in their native language.
Following the first steps taken by Mardin Artuklu University to offer Kurdish-language education in 2011, YÖK has now permitted Erciyes, Sakarya and Düzce Universities to open Circassian professorships. Because the number of instructors is not sufficient yet,Circassian education cannot begin this year.
Granting permission is not enough; the state also has to find instructors, Caucasian Associations Federation head Necip Kadıoğlu said, speaking to Hürriyet Daily News. Lack of instructors
Erciyes University will not offer Circassian education next term for lack of instructors, said Üstün Tuncer of the university’s Press and Public Relations department.
Also, because there is no instructor available, Düzce University cannot start its Circassian program, even though YÖK has approved it, said Student Affairs Department head Tahir Güney.
The department of Caucasian Languages in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences was recently opened, and preparations are underway to start classes next year, Tahir said. When asked whether instructors could not be brought from Circassia, Güney said it was not possible without the approval of YÖK.
“Since there are already many foreign instructors working in Turkey, they cannot prevent [us from] bringing instructors from our homeland. We cannot tolerate that,” Kadıoğlu said. “The state charged
Mardin Artuklu University for Kurdish education. That means concrete steps can also be taken about Circassian if they wish.”
Negotiations with the Board of Education and Discipline are ongoing and coming to an end, and the federation demanded that class minimums for native language education be abolished, Kadıoğlu said.
A 10-person minimum was put forward for native-language education in primary and middle schools. According to the condition, there must be at least 10 students in a class.
“We are insistently emphasizing that education in one’s native language should start from preschool. Also the condition of 10 students for optional native-language education is not very reasonable,” Kadıoğlu said. The federation also expects state support for textbooks, he said, adding that they will demand their rights until the end.
Once education begins to be offered in Circassian, the instructor problem will be solved within a few years, Kadıoğlu said.