Minister says education in Turkey is better than before, system’s shortcomings are known
ANKARAThe Turkish education system still has some shortcomings, but it is in a “much better position” than in previous years, Education Minister İsmet Yılmaz said Dec. 8.
Yılmaz’s remarks came a day after the results of the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2015 test were released, which was conducted with 15-year-olds, testing their abilities in sciences, math and reading skills. The test results revealed that Turkey stood much lower than other countries and had underperformed compared to previous years.
“Turkey is giving much more importance to education compared to the past, it is giving more resources to education and the results taken in education are much better. We know our weak points, but we are performing much better compared to the past,” said Yılmaz.
According to the 2015 results of the triennial test, out of 72 countries, Turkish students ranked 53rd in sciences, 50th in math and 51st in reading skills. Some 31.2 percent of students also scored below level two in the test, on which level six is the highest.
Yılmaz said there were 925,000 15-year-olds in Turkey, of whom only 5,895 were chosen for the test. Out of this figure, only 2.1 percent of the test takers were from science high schools. He suggested that if the test had been taken only by science high school students, Turkey would have ranked among the top three because he believed science high school students did not have any problems in competing with the world as “they were much ahead of the world.”
Yılmaz said social sciences high school students scored 518 on the test, which was ahead of South Korea, New Zealand, Australia and Britain.
Yılmaz said the scores achieved by Anatolian high schools students was 461, which was close to the results achieved by countries such as Israel, Malta, Slovakia, Greece and Chile.
The minister also said that in math Turkey scored 420, a 28 point decrease compared to the 2012 results, while Finland’s loss was 34, and said it was important to show the same negative reactions shown to Turkey to Finland too.
He further argued that it would be wrong to evaluate Turkey’s education situation based on a single test.
Yılmaz said he hoped Turkey would receive much better scores in PISA after pre-schools are made compulsory, the dual education system is lifted, foreign language education is increased and more care is given to vocational and technical education.