Failed education system is AKP’s doing: HDP

Failed education system is AKP’s doing: HDP

Failed education system is AKP’s doing: HDP

The opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has blasted the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for turning Turkey’s education system into a “scratch pad” and entrenching “inequality of opportunity.”

“The education system has collapsed. Our children are now victims of a system that has become little more than a scratch pad,” HDP co-chair Serpil Kemalbay said, addressing her party group at parliament on Nov. 7.

Her comments came after Education Minister İsmet Yılmaz announced the latest raft of changes to the country’s troubled education system on Nov. 5. As part of the changes only specific schools will hold the central high school entrance exam, while the new system also entails enrolling students in the nearest available school.

Kemalbay said holding entrance examinations for specific schools “would put much more pressure on children” than the previous system.

“The education minister says only 10 percent of students will enroll [in ‘quality’ schools] while the remaining 90 percent will attend their local neighborhood schools. What he means is that ‘qualified’ students will go to ‘quality’ schools and others will go to low-quality schools,” she added.

The HDP co-chair said no parents would want to send their children to low-quality schools so competition for quality school places will further raise the stress levels of children.

“No other minister in the world has internalized and normalized inequality of opportunity to such a degree,” Kemalbay said, slamming the changes as “Turkey’s shame.”

“We see a tendency to base education on religious rather than scientific grounds. An attitude that is both sexist and militaristic has begun to prevail,” she added.

A list of schools that will retain the entrance examinations is due to be announced soon.