Gov’t decision to shift to online education in universities stirs debate

Gov’t decision to shift to online education in universities stirs debate

Gov’t decision to shift to online education in universities stirs debate

A governmental decision to shift to online education in the universities so that earthquake sufferers can be accommodated in the state dormitories has created a debate, as the opposition calls on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to reverse this move.

“All the state dormitories will be allocated to earthquake sufferers until the end of summer. Our universities will pursue online education,” Erdoğan said in a statement over the weekend.

Erdoğan made this statement in Diyarbakır, one of 10 provinces hit by the massive earthquakes on Feb. 6. He recalled that some earthquake sufferers in Hatay and Kahramanmaraş have already been settled in the dormitories.

Tens of thousands of people have been left homeless after the devastating earthquakes almost flattened the country’s 10 cities.

The Supreme Election Board (YÖK) announced last week that the opening of the second semester of the universities has been delayed until further notice.

However, Erdoğan’s statement on the universities has drawn criticisms from opposition groups.

“Don’t close the schools, do not ever! The mental health of our youngsters has suffered during COVID-19. Let’s not give more harm to them. Never! What we have is just our youth,” main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said on Twitter.

İYİ (Good) Party Chairwoman Meral Akşener also rejected the idea, saying: “I don’t find the settlement of earthquake sufferers at the dormitories correct. Instead of this, vacant hotels should be used. The universities should remain open, and students should continue their physical education. This decision is extremely wrong.”

In the meantime, Education Minister Mahmut Özer announced that the primary and high schools in 10 earthquake provinces will remain closed until March 1.

Families will be able to enroll their children in the schools across Türkiye should they decide to move from the earthquake-hit region, Özer reiterated.

In the remaining 71 cities, education in primary and high schools will resume on Feb. 20, as announced in the past days, the minister said.

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