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POLITICS >Turkish government determined to close private tutoring schools

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The closure of private tutoring schools, known as 'dershanes,' is a long-standing issue.

The closure of private tutoring schools, known as 'dershanes,' is a long-standing issue.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan seems determined to close down private tutoring schools, known as “dershane” in Turkish, suggesting that such schools violate the principle of equal opportunity in education.

Erdoğan’s comments came over the weekend as Education Minister Nabi Avcı made a presentation at the government's Consultation and Evaluation Meeting, which gathered senior executives and deputies in the Kızılcahamam district of the capital city through Nov. 1-3.

During the school year 2014-2015, no dershanes will be present in the education system, Avcı explained. “As the ministry, we will not give licenses to dershanes that insist on offering services,” he was quoted as saying through ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) sources. 

The education minister also suggested that there was no obstacle to converting 20 percent of the existing dershanes into private schools. The remaining 80 percent could also be converted if state assistance is provided, he added.

The issue is known as a key source of tension between the government and Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen’s movement, also known as “the community” (“cemaat” in Turkish). 

“Dershanes are an obstacle in providing an equal opportunity in education,” Prime Minister Erdoğan was quoted as saying following Avcı's presentation by the same sources.

Erdoğan, nonetheless, positively approached the idea of employing in public schools teachers who lose their jobs after the closure of dershanes.

According to a report from the Union of Chamber and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), there were 4,055 firms offering private tutoring services in Turkey and more than 1.2 million students attending private tutoring courses in 2012. 

The number of such schools was only 1,730 in 2000, tutoring 174,496 students.

November/05/2013

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