Professors blame paid training of teachers for education problems in Turkey
Nuran Çakmakçı – ISTANBULProfessors say the paid training of teachers is responsible for education problems in Turkey, which hit the agenda after it emerged that most teacher candidates fail to correctly answer questions in their own subject areas.
The authorities are now investigating the pedagogical education given to nearly 100,000 university graduates hoping to become teachers. Due to the fact that graduates of “open education” are now accepted to these courses, including people who receive their certification after paying some 2,000 Turkish Liras for education, the number of prospective teachers waiting to be assigned by the Education Ministry has risen in recent years.
One of the reasons why many universities with educational sciences departments have opened pedagogical education programs is because they are a good source of income. In particular, faculty members and deans receive additional salaries for giving education as a part of the program, able to earn up to 5,000 liras by giving 42 hours of lessons in a seven-week program.
“Pedagogical education classes are a very serious problem. Academics are in a situation where they are unable to fulfill their actual duties and end up spending less time on their own students compared to their students in the pedagogical education classes,” Prof. Burhanettin Dönmez from İnönü University told daily Hürriyet.
“Due to the formation being given by money, some faculty members are more eager to give these lessons. If the classes were given for free, there wouldn’t be such demand,” Dönmez said, adding that it was “wrong” for distance-learning graduates to also benefit equally.
“That should be ended. Turkey doesn’t need a higher number of teachers. It needs a lower number of qualified teachers,” he said.
Prof. Hayati Akyol from Gazi University also criticized the current teacher training programs.
“It’s not right to leave pedagogical formation to the will of universities. There are universities in which there are no instructors left who can give education to their own faculty’s students, but who still receive pedagogical education students. This will only lower the quality of teachers,” Akyol told Hürriyet, adding that no universities will open pedagogical education courses if lesson fees are lifted.
“They currently receive more than 2,000 liras per student. If they remove this fee, no university will open pedagogical education courses and no teachers would give that education. Faculty members in some universities get five times higher than the price that is normally given for such classes. But each university has a different story; there are even some who earn up to 50,000 liras for the course,” he said.
Saying that “developing teachers has been surrendered to money,” Akyol claimed that “there are now no criteria to fulfill in order to attend pedagogical education.”
Semih Aktekin, an associate professor and the Education Ministry’s general manager for teacher training, recently revealed the results of the Teachers Field Knowledge Test (ÖABT), taken as a part of the Public Personnel Selection Exam (KPSS).
According to Aktekin, most teachers failed to pass their exams as many of them could not give correct answers to half of the questions, showing that a significant number of prospective teachers are seen as inadequate for their jobs.