Turkey to open state-funded schools abroad with new Maarif Foundation
AA photoThe final draft bill presented to the Turkish Parliament by former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu proposes to form a foundation under the Education Ministry that will open and run schools and education centers abroad, daily Cumhuriyet reported on May 23.
According to the bill, the Education Ministry will establish a foundation named the Maarif Foundation with a total budget of 1 million Turkish Liras. The Maarif Foundation will provide education services in foreign countries at elementary, middle and higher levels, as well as private courses, culture centers, libraries, laboratories, arts and sports centers, in addition to dormitories for students and instructors.
The foundation will be overseen by a commission of 12 members, four from the presidency, three from the cabinet, two from the Education Ministry, and the rest from the Foreign Ministry, the Finance Ministry and Turkey’s Higher Education Board (YÖK).
The budget of the foundation, which will be based in Istanbul, will be provided by the Education Ministry and may be used to buy, take over, rent, or sign partnerships with other foreign education institutions.
The foundation will also reportedly encourage foreign governments to seize other Turkish education foundations operating in those countries, possibly targeting enterprises run by individuals close to U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, an ally-turned-nemesis of the government. In the event of these seizures, the Maarif Foundation will be offered as an alternative foundation with the authority to buy, take over and rent them.