The council for transforming into a religious society
During the recent Education Council held in Antalya, 179 “advisory” decisions were taken. Education Minister Nabi Avcı praised the council’s positions, saying, “Very important advisory decisions have been made that will set the course of the education system and enlighten future decisions.”
Apparently, these 179 advisory decisions will be implemented one by one over time, and the review process of each will depend on public reaction and related circumstances.
None of these decisions will change Turkey’s position in the PISA tests. This test evaluates the math, science and reading comprehension levels of students in OECD countries. Turkey is currently in 42nd place among 64 countries on the list.
When we consider the dominant mentality of the council and the Education Ministry, it is possible that we may drop even further down the list.
The mentality dominating the council and its decisions is essentially seeking to create an Islamic society. Their only concern can be summarized as this: They do not care a bit about whether or not education in Turkey is modernized, or whether education in Turkey reaches a level where a scientific and technological revolution can be made.
They know only too well that once the education system is modernized, nobody will believe in the chain of superstitions that they are trying to pass off as religion.
They want to raise a generation of students that “will maintain their grudge,” not generations that have free minds and consciences. They will try to do this, as suits their ideology, by force.
It is indeed very difficult for Turkey to transform into a state of shariah law as they dream of. Maybe they are imagining a shariah state like Saudi Arabia or Iran, but they know that they are not able to do it.
But it also sticks out like a sore thumb that they have started down this path. They want not just education, but also social life to be based on religious principles, and they want to adjust human relations according to this. For this purpose, they will even rewrite fairy tales; maybe they will add an “imam dwarf” to the Snow White and the Seven Dwarves story.
Their dreams of ending co-ed education, which they tried to address in this council, but did not have the courage to pass, will be brought up again in the future, because there is a political will in Ankara on the issue. Let us not forget that the son of the president gave such an instruction to the Education Ministry officials during a meeting.
A suggestion for research
Those who have been arguing that Ottoman Turkish should become a compulsory course complain about “not being able to read the tombstone epitaphs of our ancestors” and “not being able to read old books.”
Well, here is a research suggestion for academics on this subject: How many books were printed between when the first printing machine was set up by İbrahim Müteferrika in 1727 and Nov. 1, 1928, the date of the alphabet revolution? And, after the transformation into Latin letters, how many books were printed? This is in answer to those who argue that because of the new alphabet, our ties with our enormous accumulation of knowledge of the past have been cut.
I think we will have an interesting result.