Council of State lifts rights of governors to open religious schools
ANKARAThe Council of State has lifted a regulation permitting governor’s offices to unilaterally convert ordinary high schools into vocational religious high schools without considerating the needs of locals, a Turkish education union announced on Dec. 28.
The council’s ruling that the right to convert schools belongs to the Education Ministry and argues that governors cannot randomly engage in such activity, Eğitim-İş head Mehmet Balık said.
The decision added that when the ministry plans to open religious vocational schools, it should take into consideration the needs of the area. According to the decision, eight vocational religious schools in the Central Anatolian district of Konya were opened against the law.
In the area in question, there are eight vocational religious schools within an area of 30 kilometers but only two regular high schools, Balık said.
The decision also ruled that arbitrary name changes to all kinds of schools were unlawful, ordering a suspension of such practices.
Balık said the decision was a test case and would be taken into consideration in future cases.
“We hope that the Education Ministry learns its lesson out of this ruling. We expect them to take into consideration students’ and parents’ consent and real needs, stop the efforts to turn all schools into vocational religious high schools and stop efforts to make people forget about the names that acquired a place within the hearts and minds of citizens and the history of this country. The legal rulings should be executed as soon as possible,” said Balık, adding that the eight schools in Konya should be closed down and given back their original names.