Controversy deepens with overhaul in new schools

Controversy deepens with overhaul in new schools

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet
A government endeavor to overhaul elementary and middle schools is receiving strong backing from officials despite an outpouring of dissatisfaction from students and parents alike.

Turkey’s Education Ministry has pushed the button to speed up the project, with Istanbul Education Department Director Muammer Yıldız announcing plans to build over 7,000 new schools around Istanbul. The change of regulations regarding the early years of education will result in some schools being completely transformed into elementary or middle schools, instead of hosting all grades up to a certain age. The change could ultimately force families to send children to schools further away.

Families have expressed concern over the new locations and asked officials to delay the overhaul, at least until all new schools are built. Parents have also noted the negative effect such a sudden change of environment could have on the children, who would have to face new schools and new friends in the midst of their early education. Yıldız said children would be transferred together, physical circumstances permitting, in order to ensure children are not separated from the teachers they are already familiar with. Yıldız also said the construction of new classrooms was continuing at full speed.

Education and Science Employees Union (Eğitim-Sen) also voiced concern over the project, which is set to affect teachers as well, calling on officials to abandon the project that will cause problems in assigning teachers, with many of them left out with the new staff arrangements.

“With all these, it is necessary to abandon these school alterations, and instead plan a qualified project that takes all factors into account, including teachers, unions and parents,” an Istanbul representative of the union said.