Kurdish teaching department draws great interest
ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
According to Yıldırım, returning language rights would be a great step for a democratic solution to the Kurdish problem.The Kurdish teaching undergraduate program opened at Mardin Artuklu University has drawn great interest since its opening, with 1100 people having applied to the 500-person program. The university administration expects that the number of applicants will increase to 2000 by the end of July.
Speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News, vice rector and head of the Living Languages Institution Prof. Kadri Yıldırım said they were planning to increase the capacity to 1000 people, but that a Higher Education Board decision was awaited on that matter.
There are various reasons for the department to have attracted such interest, Yıldırım said, and one of the main reasons is the desire to receive education in one’s native language. “Furthermore, one of the other reasons is the belief that this language will be effective in the marketplace. The descendants of a generation once fined for speaking Kurdish will now receive a salary because they can speak Kurdish. This is a historical, ironic paradox,” Yıldırım said.
According to Yıldırım, returning language rights would be a great step for a democratic solution to the Kurdish problem.
“I think one of the aims of universities is to make democratic and academic contributions to the normalization of the situation and to solving the country’s problems,” Yıldırım said, adding that the Kurdish language and identity were victims of the republican period mentality in favor of homogenization.
“Kurds have insisted on changing this mentality, and within the last eight to ten years the ruling power in government understood the seriousness of the situation and took important steps toward bringing the Kurdish language to an official status. Optional Kurdish lessons could be regarded as a result of these initiatives,” Yıldırım said.
He also announced the news that a doctorate degree would be opened in the Kurdish department of the university within this year. “As the Kurdish language department, we would like to emphasize that we have the capacity to train 1000 Kurdish language teachers each year and to provide course materials for each class,” Yıldırım said.
“If the capacity is increased to 1000 people, half of them will have daytime education, while the other half will have evening education. The potential of our academic staff and material conditions requires this method. We don’t have any problem in our undergraduate and graduate degrees, as our professors, associate professors, assistant professors, and instructors coming from Turkey and abroad are currently sufficient. We will reinforce our staff with additional personnel this year. We need a field professor for our graduate program, and we will find one soon,” Yıldırım said.
“Along with our academic staff, we are going to work in coordination with a number academics majoring in Kurdology abroad who want to work with us voluntarily. For example, world-renowned Zaza academic Mehmet Tayfun, also known as Malmîsanij, is interested in this,” he said.
“We are considering the academic mentality and trying to be objective while taking a new step.
Therefore, we never intend to be a follower or a locomotive of a certain segment of society,” Yıldırım said, replying to a question on whether the state authority played a role in the university’s Kurdish department.