We don’t need no mixed-sex schools, says Turkey's conservative teachers union
The Eğitim-Bir-Sen union went as far as to claim that mixed-education system is a 'violation of rights.' AA PhotoEğitim-Bir-Sen, an education sector trade union with conservative views, has demanded the abolition of mixed-sex education, a move that comes in the wake of the government’s decision to allow grade-five girls to wear headscarves in class – another of the group’s demands.
The declaration by Eğitim-Bir-Sen, which is headed by Ahmet Gündoğdu, who also heads the umbrella organization Memur-Sen, said mixed-education system was a "violation of rights."
“The boundaries beyond democratic education rights, which limit the basic preferences of the people, should be eliminated. Compulsory ‘mixed’ education, which holds the will and preferences of the people captive, should be ended. The state should withdraw from its assertiveness on the issue,” said a declaration that was drafted after meetings last week.
It also called for a change in the syllabus to prioritize “moral and social values.”
Eğitim-Bir-Sen is known for its nationalistic and conservative stance.
The union had called for the abolition of a ban on headscarves in all public schools, which was followed by a recent government announcement to lift the ban for children starting from grade five, which normally corresponds to the age of 10 in Turkey.
The changes have drawn a reaction, although some people had already started sending girls to school wearing headscarves anyway, even before the relevant regulation came into effect.
Eğitim-Bir-Sen had previously collected 12.3 million signatures for a petition that calls for the lifting of the headscarf ban on public workers, another campaign that yielded results. The union had said it would continue “civil disobedience” protests until the bans were lifted.
Meanwhile, the union has also called for freedom in the dress code as part of a reaction against the compulsory wearing of ties for men.
Members of one of the two other sector unions, the left-wing Eğitim-Sen, went on strike Sept. 24 in protest at the government’s education policies.
The union demanded an “end to political moves in the education system and the compulsory rotations of teachers and principals,” while also highlighting the need for a secular education system.
Gündoğdu’s Memur-Sen, which is known for its warm stance toward the government, heads the collective bargaining teams for public workers, as it is the largest in the country.