Students being forced to migrate to find best schools
I finished high school in 1998. Looking back at it now, I remember it as the worst year of my life.
It was the first time they started messing around with the education system.
The primary and secondary school systems had not changed yet; we had to sit for two big exams throughout our education, one after primary school, and the other after high school. Both were very stressful.
Back then we used to say, “In the future these things will improve, but for now, we are serving as guinea pigs.”
It was the year I entered the university exam when a new system called “Secondary School Success Grade” had been introduced.
Under this system, being a successful student at a top school meant nothing, because your grades were calculated in accordance with your school’s average success.
To be able to get the highest grades in the university entrance exams, you had to be a successful student at a bad school.
In a way, those who studied in successful schools were being punished.
So before senior year started at high school, a rather crowded group of students, including myself, left our beloved school and chose one of Istanbul’s most unsuccessful high schools to enroll ourselves in, in order to get the highest points in the university entrance exams.
Of course, we could not think of how this change would affect our psychology. We all suffered from different problems.
I could not adapt to my new school. I was in serious depression, and in a couple of months I had reached a state where I was unable to do my lessons.
They had to enroll me in another school, to which they thought I could adapt relatively better.
I could not make it there either. I was so unnerved that I had to give up getting prepared for university exams.
Eventually, without preparations, I enrolled in a course where my points were just sufficient.
A couple of years later, I pulled myself together and entered the exam again and won a place in the degree I wanted. But in the meantime I had lost four years and struggled with depression, which lasted more than a year.
After that year, exam systems have changed a countless amount of times, and still the torture for university and secondary school students did not end.
Contrary to our predictions, the quality of the education system deteriorated. It turned into a something that raised “the desired type of citizens,” a model, although different in some ways, reminiscent of the previous ones.
What will happen now?
Families will move to neighborhoods with good schools. Those who have the opportunity will rent another apartment and move their residence to that address, or if they have relatives who live in the area, they will register their children in their residence.
Students have been exhausted from getting worried about the uncertainty and having anxiety about the future. They are asking “what will change this year?” Now, moving to a convenient neighborhood has become another issue to worry about, when they should only be focusing on their studies.
The biggest worry for students is not their exams but this.
If they can get through these psychological difficulties, tolerate the continuous changes, and, on top of that, win a place at a good school, it means that they have superhuman qualifications.
In short, the new system is forcing students to migrate in search for the best schools.
I hope the Education Ministry is aware that they are once again preparing themselves for a big mistake.