Debate rises to teach Kurdish in schools in Turkey

Debate rises to teach Kurdish in schools in Turkey

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Debate rises to teach Kurdish in schools in Turkey

Kurdish may be taught in elective courses with the start of new term. AA photo

The Turkish government plans to offer Kurdish language elective courses for secondary schools, beginning in the fifth grade, Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay said, as the Peace and Democracy Party’s (BDP) deputy parliamentary group leader, Hasip Kaplan, said Kurdish should be taught starting in kindergarten.

“There is the aspect that citizens should learn their mother tongues, preparations for these aims remain. The prime minister will announce it soon,” Atalay said.

Kurdish will be taught in elective courses with the start of new controversial education system, publicly known as 4+4+4, according to daily Vatan. The Education Ministry will not complete preparations untill July, but the course of study may be announced within the week the report said.

Mother tongue
However, Kaplan opposed the plan and said mother tongue education was a standard of this century.“You, Mr. Prime Minister, did you learn Turkish in an elective course? If Turkish is used in this country in education, then Kurdish will be used as well. We have to start to solve the problem by dealing with the language issue,” Kaplan said.

He also suggested main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu to consider the BDP’s stance on the subject. “Our demand is that Kurdish be used beginning from kindergarten,” Kaplan said.

Kurdish will be one of the elective courses available in schools after English, German and French. Courses of four or six hours a week will be given to the students and if students demand they will continue taking the class at the high school level as well.

According to the new regulation informative DVDs and CDs will be given to students along with Kurdish language books. “Cultural values of the countries where Kurdish is spoken,” and “Being aware of the one’s own culture” or “Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s thoughts and revolutions,” are said to be some of the items of the language education regulation.

In the Turkish education system there is no registered Kurdish teachers. Minister of Education Ömer Dinçer was asked about the teachers of these future classes and he had replied “do not worry, we will find a way.”

Turkey’s first undergraduate Kurdish program was started in 2011 in the southeastern province Mardin’s Artuklu University and the first Kurdish teachers will graduate in 2015.