Religious schools sprouting in Turkey in wake of contentious reform bill
An AKP deputy hands out diplomas at a imam hatip graduation ceremony. DHA Photo
Some 67 new imam-hatip religious schools have been opened in Istanbul's 39 districts on the heels of controversial educational reforms, private broadcaster NTV reported on its website today.
Istanbul Provincial Education Directorate reportedly opened the new religious vocational schools in accordance with the “4+4+4” law, which will permit pupils to enter a vocational educational stream after just four years of education.
The Anatolian-side districts of Ümraniye and Sultanbeyli will each host five new imam-hatip schools, while four each will be established in the European-side districts of Eyüp and Büyükçekmece.
Around 450 schools will be reorganized as elementary schools, junior high schools and imam-hatip junior high schools.
Female secondary and high school students will also be permitted to wear headscarves in elective religion classes that were introduced as part of the reform bill. A number of other elective courses were also introduced in addition to the two new elective religion courses, the Quran and the “Life of Our Prophet, His Majesty."
The reform has come under fire on the grounds that it will allow conservative parents to remove girls from school and encourage child labor.