Elementary students in Turkey to receive language education for one year: Report

Elementary students in Turkey to receive language education for one year: Report

Elementary students in Turkey to receive language education for one year: Report Elementary school students in Turkey will exclusively receive language education in their fifth year as a part of an education system reform package, daily Habertürk reported on Oct. 6. 

According to the changes, during fifth grade students will receive courses in Turkish, English, German, French and Arabic. The Turkish course will be mandatory and students will choose another additional language course, Habertürk reported. 

“All school leavers will be able to speak another language, in addition to Turkish, as a native speaker,” Education Minister İsmet Yılmaz claimed on Oct. 6.

The announcement comes after Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım heralded a series of new practices in Turkey’s education system on Oct. 4.

The changes, reportedly developed by the Education Ministry over two-and-a-half years, are aimed at enhancing the quality of language education, long seen as a weak spot in Turkey’s education system
Subjects other than languages that are currently taught in fifth grade are planned to be added to the syllabi of the fourth and six grades. Current English courses that start to be given in the second grade will continue to be included in the syllabus. 

To facilitate the changes, the Education Ministry will increase the quotas for English, German, French and Arabic language teachers. There are currently around 500,000 foreign language teachers employed in Turkish schools.

Additional changes in education are also included in the reform package, including the construction of 3,000 new schools in order to facilitate the planned shift to full-day schooling, starting from 2019. The ministry aims to bring all class sizes to 30 students, with the school day starting at 9 a.m. and ending at 4 p.m. With the changes in the syllabus, the number of subjects will decrease but the intensity of the remaining subjects will increase. 

Obligatory pre-school education is also among the reforms. Pilot studies for obligatory pre-school education will be tried initially at a number of specially selected schools. If the system proves successful it will be applied to all schools in Turkey, Habertürk reported. 

Education Minister Yılmaz also dismissed rumors about a lack of teachers after sweeping suspensions and dismissals following the July 15 coup attempt, saying the number is “sufficient.”

Speaking on Oct. 4, Prime Minister Yıldırım had announced that schools would shift to full-day schooling, starting from 2019.

“We are heading toward an information society. There are already tablets, smart boards and the Internet in schools. But this needs to spread to all rural areas,” he added.