Turkey needs engineers next to imams

Turkey needs engineers next to imams

Education Minister İsmet Yılmaz recently announced his ministry’s target: “We want to raise generations that will take to the streets with flags.”
It is obvious that he was inspired in this aim by July 15. He wants an education system inspired by those who took to the streets during the July 15 coup attempt.

I would like to tell the minister that it would be more appropriate to raise generations that stay away from the kind of mindsets that led to July 15, rather than generations that will have to take to the streets with flags in their hands.

Raise a generation that questions and interrogates rather than a generation whose minds are filled by hearsay.

Can a youngster who passes everything he or she is told through a filter of rationality become a slave to the likes of Fethullah Gülen?

I have bad news for the minister. Unfortunately, looking at the mentality of the cadres in his ministry, it seems that they want to make all schools in Turkey like the religious imam hatip schools. They want to raise generations distant from an education that teaches the value of questioning.

Look at recent developments. The provincial education head in Burdur recently shared a hearsay denigrating women on social media, presenting it as a hadith. He has kept his position. 

Your mission should be to raise young generations who are loyal to democratic values and provide them with an education that answers the needs and requirements of our times. Success in the professions of the future does not demand the knowledge of religion provided by imam hatip schools. Your only job is to provide religious education to those families who ask for it. 

Look at the cadres of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). They are all pious. Clearly, even in a secular education system people can learn their religion. These people did not learn their religion in space; they learned it within the secular education system that you want to destroy.

The World Economic Forum recently published a list of the professions of the future. Apparently there will not be a huge need for imams in the fourth industrial revolution. Instead, we need better education in math, physics, biology and art.

It’s good to be ignorant in Turkey 
Social media recently went wild over the ignorance of a presenter of a magazine program on TV, who did not know that Sabahattin Ali’s 1943 novel “Madonna in a Fur Coat” is not actually about the pop singer Madonna.
But it is hard to understand why anyone who lives in Turkey could be surprised by this.

This country is a place where ignorance rises to the top and where literate people are looked down as pretentious.

Clearly, the only acceptable presenter for that kind of program must be ignorant. They must be so presumptuous that they can sit and talk nonstop for hours about topics they don’t even know anything about.

I wonder whether people who talk nonstop on social media remember that one of our statesmen recently confused the Treaty of Lausanne with the Treaty of Ouchy? What about that claim that it was Muslims who conquered Cuba? What about that other claim that the United Kingdom is governed by a presidential system? 

Yes, ignorance is an acceptable thing in this country. In fact, it’s a “looked for” quality on TV.

Watch the news stations. Check the magazine programs of entertainment stations.

Is it surprising that people who have no idea about the topics they are discussing are treated with great respect in these programs? 

But what about the people who watch these TV stations?