E-education project kicks off in Turkey
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
PM Erdoğan uses a tablet PC distributed to students as part of the Movement of Enhancing Opportunities and Improving Technology (FATİH) project. AA photoTurkey’s government launched yesterday its long-awaited education project to gradually replace traditional blackboards and textbooks with electronic boards and tablet PCs over the next four years.
“The meaning of education is changing, not only in Turkey, but globally. Many countries are following this program closely. We are starting a new age of information technology in education. I am excited and proud to witness this historic moment,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said at a ceremony at an Ankara high school.
The Movement of Enhancing Opportunities and Improving Technology (FATİH) project was launched at 52 pilot schools in 17 provinces, with 12,800 tablet PCs handed out to students. The program will reach 570,000 classrooms in 42,000 schools over the next four years, said Erdoğan, adding that there were plans to equip libraries and laboratories with similar technologies.
The electronic boards in classrooms are equipped with Internet connections and interact with the students’ tablet PCs, which feature pre-loaded textbooks. The students will also be allowed to use the computers at home.
‘Modern and pious’
In further remarks at the ceremony, Erdoğan rebuffed the wave of criticism that he unleashed last week when he said his Justice and Development Party (AKP) aimed to raise a “pious generation” for Turkey.
“We are not trying to format students,” he said. “Our principles and goals are clear. We are not talking about any impositions. On the contrary, we are talking about freedom and democracy.”
Erdoğan insisted, however, on religious education and rejected the criticism as a “smear campaign” against the AKP.
“Do you want our youth to be substance abusers, to rebel against their elders and not have any spiritual and national values? Can’t a person be both modern and pious? A pious generation would be respectful of freedoms, different thoughts and other faiths,” he said.
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), meanwhile, slammed the AKP’s education policies, arguing that child poverty remained a major problem.
The CHP’s Sencer Ataya proposed “two basic steps” to solve the problem: ending the financial contributions that parents make to schools and switching to full-day education to ensure that free hot meals are provided to poor students.