Turkey’s education system raises alarm for future
Turkey’s Student Selection and Placement Center, or ÖSYM, has released the results of this year’s university entrance exam in which more than 2.3 million youngsters have competed with each other to get into a good university.
The selection and placement system is getting more complicated every year with the increase in the number of students. This year’s exam has taken place in three different sessions in mid-June and students answered up to 120 questions to prove their proficiency in basic courses like Turkish, social sciences, history, philosophy and basic mathematics in the first session.
In the second session, students had answered 160 questions on literature, social sciences, mathematics and science following their choices on which department they want to study at the university. These questions were believed to be more difficult than the previous session.
The third session is only for those who want to enter the foreign languages department of the universities and was composed of 80 questions in English, German, French, Russian and Arabic.
The results of this year’s exam manifest how poor is the education system in Turkey and without a doubt.
In the first session, 2,390,188 students answered 120 questions on basic courses. According to the ÖSYM statistics, the average correct answers was 14.6 for 40 questions on Turkish, 6.6 for 20 questions on social sciences, 5.6 for 40 questions on basic mathematics and 2.2 for 20 questions on science.
Some 1,880,711 students sat for the university exam in the second session and answered 160 questions. The results are worse than in the first session. On average, students got five correct answers out of 24 questions on Turkish literature, four correct answers out of 21 questions on history, four correct answers out of 21 questions on geography, two and a half correct answers out of 12 questions on philosophy, one correct answer out of six questions on religious culture and moral knowledge, four and three-fourths correct answers out of 40 questions on mathematics, one correct answer out of 14 questions on physics, 0.9 correct answers out of 13 questions on chemistry, 1.2 correct answers out of 13 questions on biology.
This is not a brilliant picture and tells that the decline in the quality of the education is still ongoing. One of the key reasons for this collapse is the lack of a long-term vision and constant changes in the system driven by political motivations.
The problem is not only the increased number of religious vocational schools and the fact that the number of students attending these schools has exceeded 1 million. It’s much more structural and includes insufficient qualified teachers and an outdated curriculum. A recent change in the curriculum in 2017 has introduced the concept of “jihad” while omitting instruction about evolution in the secondary schools, a move that had further deepened concerns about the education system in Turkey. Critics of the government have slammed these changes because they undermine the principle of secularism.
As a result of all these politically-driven attempts, the education system skips academic and scientific necessities in favor of ideological priorities heavily determined by the Justice and Development Party.
Families who can afford it are enrolling their children in private institutions or foreign schools with hopes for a good education and future. Education, along with the economy, is the gravest problem in Turkey. The only way to resolve the problem is to undertake substantial changes for an ideology-free, science-based education.