Parliament passes bill on new education foundation abroad
ANKARA – Reuters
AA photoThe Turkish parliament has adopted a government-led bill establishing a foundation under the Education Ministry which will open and run schools and education centers abroad, a move considered to be aimed at replacing schools owned by the outlawed Fethullah Gülen movement.
The Maarif Foundation will offer services beyond regular education standards, in addition to having the authority to provide scholarships and run dormitories for students in a wide range of ages, extending from those in preschool to those in high school. It will open universal education courses, as well as prep centers, culture centers, libraries, labs and arts and recreational facilities.
The foundation, which will have a budget of 1 million Turkish Liras, will be overseen by a commission of 12 members, including four from the Presidency, three from the cabinet and two from the Education Ministry, with the rest from the Foreign Ministry, the Finance Ministry and Turkey’s Higher Education Board (YÖK).
The budget of the foundation, which will be based in Istanbul, will be provided by the Education Ministry and may be used to buy, take over, rent, or sign partnerships with other foreign education institutions.
The foundation will also reportedly encourage foreign governments to seize other Turkish education foundations operating in those countries, such as enterprises run by individuals close to U.S.-based Islamic scholar Gülen, an ally-turned-nemesis of the government. In the event of these seizures, the Maarif Foundation will be offered as an alternative foundation with the authority to buy, take over or rent them.