Goverments says no step back on the education bill
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Education Minister Ömer Dinçer (M) says the bill aims to make education more flexible and religious vocational imam-hatip schools will also benefit from the it. ‘This reform is not only for imam-hatip schools,’ he said. However, critics say the new system would encourage child labor and undermine the schooling of girls. AA photoEducation Minister Ömer Dinçer defended the education reform plan increasing the term of mandatory education to 12 years with three tiers, while the opposition is maintaining its critical stance against the controversial bill.
“Students will be able to attend imam-hatip [vocational religious] schools after primary education. We are making education more flexible and imam-hatip schools will also benefit from it. But this reform is not only for imam-hatip schools. If you look at the issue from this point of view, the argument turns into an ideological debate,” Dinçer told the private news channel NTV March 9.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, for his part, said those who criticized the reform plan should examine education models around the world. “Our friends who prepared this plan are well-educated and they know these issues more or less. Those who bring up the 60-months issue [for school-starting age] should examine the world,” Erdoğan said March 9 in Istanbul.
The government’s education reform plan has come under fire both from the opposition and from civic groups mainly for the early introduction of vocational classes – as soon as students complete four years of basic education – and for allowing students to opt out of school in favor of home study after eight years. Critics say the new system would encourage child labor and undermine the schooling of girls.
Some critics indicated that students in Western countries are asked to choose vocational programs no earlier than the age of 16.
Dinçer refuted the critics, saying the reform plan is not a tool “to settle scores with the so-called Feb. 28 process,” but uninterrupted 8-year education was implemented for political reasons.
“There is no example of 8-year uninterrupted education in the world except two countries; namely Ireland and New Zealand. If the opposition gives a third example of it, we are ready to revise our proposal. There is no uninterrupted education longer than 6 years,” Dinçer said.
Some civic groups suggested preschool be added to the compulsory education system, but the government is unlikely to heed this call. Instead, the school-starting age would be reduced from six to five.
Meanwhile, a dispute erupted in Parliament’s Education Commission March 9 during a debate on the controversial education bill as ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) members proposed and passed a motion that the speaking times be reduced to five minutes for each provision. CHP lawmakers reacted harshly to the decision and surrounded the commission’s chairmanship council. The commission meeting continued after a short break and was still underway when the Hürriyet Daily News went to print.