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LOCAL > Sabancı worries over education bill

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News

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A new government plan to reform Turkey’s education system could create a new generation of child brides and child laborers, according to one of Turkey’s top business leaders.

“There is a concern that the number of child brides and child laborers will increase” with the new system, said Güler Sabancı, the head of Sabancı Holding’s executive committee. “I hope these concerns and discussion will be taken into account. It is at the sub-committee level now. I find this change too early. However, I hope all these discussions will end up in a healthy place.”

The government has defended its plans to divide schooling into three tiers of four years each, saying it will increase the number of mandatory years of education from eight to 12, but critics say it will actually reduce the total to four, allowing parents to especially remove female students from school at a young age.

Still, Sabancı hailed the debate surrounding the bill. “Educational reform is being debated nowadays. As a matter of fact, this is democracy. There is a motion. It is now being debated in sub-committees. There are reactions and concerns,” she said.

Meanwhile, Education Minister Ömer Dinçer participated in the National Security Council (MGK) meeting even though he is not a member of the council. His attendance suggested that the MGK could discuss the education reform bill.

The government’s bill would allow the reintroduction of the imam-hatip vocational religious schools after primary education.

The bill ended up in a sub-commission late Feb. 23 after a stormy debate at Parliament’s Education Commission. The sub-commission is scheduled to take up the draft today.

February/28/2012

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