More than 2 million Turkish children lack access to compulsory education: CHP report

More than 2 million Turkish children lack access to compulsory education: CHP report

More than 2 million Turkish children lack access to compulsory education: CHP report

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Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has announced the findings of a fresh education report, claiming that more than 2 million students between 6 and 18 years of age do not have access to compulsory education, totaling 14 percent of the country’s total population of the age group.

A total of 2,071,232 students are not enrolled in school while some 643,849 are habitually absent, the report prepared by CHP deputy chair Lale Karabıyık stated, estimating that the combined figure of students not attending school stands at 2,715,081. 

In the report, Karabıyık emphasized that of the young people who are unable to continue their education due to early marriages or engagements, as much as 97.4 percent are girls. 

The deputy also slammed the quality of education provided in Turkish schools and suggested that infrastructural problems in education remain unsolved “after 13 years of AKP [ruling Justice and Development Party] governance.”

According to the report, some 31 percent of all schools all around the country practice multi-grade class teaching, not just in rural areas. Karabıyık provided examples in Istanbul, Ankara, İzmir and Şanlıurfa, which have 25, 64, 115 and 558 multi-grade class teaching schools respectively. 

The decreasing quality of education can also be observed from standardized test results, Karabıyık said, providing examples from Turkey’s Transition to Higher Education examination (YGS) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) PISA (Program for International Student Examination).

The deputy said 34,000 of some 2.1 million test takers received a zero on the exam, adding that average scores in mathematics and social sciences decreased between 2010 and 2016. 

“When we compare the university exam results from 2014-2015 with 2011, we witness a decrease by 18.75 percent,” she added.

Karabıyık also analyzed the country’s PISA performance, as it provides the opportunity to compare Turkish students with those in Europe. According to her research, Turkish students ranked only 32nd out of 34 OECD countries. 

The report also touched upon the many current illegal dormitories run by foundations –which emerged as a topic of discussion after a teacher sexually abused 10 male students at one such dorm of the Ensar Foundation in Central Anatolian province of Karaman.

Noting that the Ministry of Education does not operate dormitories at the elementary school level, Karabıyık stressed that the only legal option available for elementary students were regional boarding secondary schools (YİBOs), the number of which has significantly decreased, paving the way for the increase in illegal dorms.  

“When we observe the number of YİBOs, the number of operational schools decreased from 521 in 2002 to 341 in 2015,” Karabıyık said, adding the number of students receiving education in these facilities declined from 278,448 to 94,445 - a 66 percent decline. 

430,000 Syrian kids out of school

Meanwhile, Turkey’s Minister of National Education Nabi Avcı said on April 27 that of 756,808 school-aged Syrian children, some 325,000 were enrolled in Turkish schools.
In remarks made at the Turkish parliament, Avcı remarked that 75,000 Syrian children have been enrolled in public schools, while 250,000 others have been attending temporary educational centers.      
Avcı added that some legal challenges hindering free access to education for school-aged Syrian children had been removed, and Syrian children could now enroll in many educational institutions under Turkey’s Ministry of Education.        

“In addition, Syrian refugees from all ages may benefit from courses, including Turkish courses provided by public training centers. The number of Syrians attending such courses is now more than 130,000,” he said.        
“Almost 375 temporary education centers have been created in Turkish provinces, including Adana, Adiyaman, Batman, Diyarbakir, Gaziantep, Hatay, Istanbul, Kahramanmaras, Kayseri, Kilis, Konya, Malatya, Mardin, Osmaniye, Siirt, Sirnak, Sanliurfa,” the minister added.