Education Ministry blasts PISA, defends memorization as a ‘traditional learning practice’
Education Ministry Undersecretary Yusuf Tekin has defended memorization as a “traditional learning practice,” following criticism of Turkey’s education system from Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) Director Andreas Schleicher.
In an interview with daily Habertürk on Nov. 13, Schleicher had criticized the Turkish education system for stressing “memorization” at the expense of “creative thinking.”
“Turkish students are very good at recreating knowledge they have learned or putting something they have memorized on paper. But they have difficulty applying their knowledge in a creative way. Unfortunately, the areas in which Turkish students excel are no longer relevant in the world,” he noted.
However, speaking at the 4th Istanbul Meeting of Educators on Nov. 23, Tekin said educators should not “insult tradition.”
“In our tradition, memorization does not mean just memorizing any text ... Our reference is our ancient heritage,” he added, apparently referring to the traditional practice of memorizing the Quran.
Tekin also touch on controversial recent changes to the curriculum in Turkey, saying the education system should “reflect [the country’s] civilization.”
“Turkey offers a unique brand of civilization, its own school of thought and philosophy. Education and pedagogy should reflect the specifics of this civilization,” he said.
Schleicher had said Turkey’s education system does not comply with global standards and improvements should be made.
“In a changing world, certain skills are sought. But Turkey does not fulfill this need. Its education system carries on regardless. Relative to other countries, Turkey’s performance is not keeping pace,” he said.