Turkey's minority schools seek regulations to keep positive developments

Turkey's minority schools seek regulations to keep positive developments

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Turkeys minority schools seek regulations to keep positive developments

DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah Gürel

Minority schools' bureaucratic problems are being solved faster than other schools, but they are demanding that a law on minority schools comes into force, worried that none of these changes are based on solid legal grounds and therefore may change in the future.

Nevertheless, Minority Schools Coordinator Karekin Barsamyan told the Hürriyet Daily News on Oct. 28 that the problems caused by Law no. 6581 regarding the appointment of “Turkish and Turkish Culture Teachers” to Minority Schools are being easily solved these days. However, he also voiced concerns that this situation is not due to a specific law and may therefore come to an end at any time.

Barsamyan said the Education Ministry had exercised "positive discrimination" for the minority schools, unlike in the past. Schools used to have problems due to deputy principles and Turkish language teachers nominated by the ministry, but their latest demands to change these officials have largely been met by the ministry, he said.

“These developments are really positive. But the regulations must be done immediately and these practices must have a legal ground in order not to have such problems again,” said Barsamyan. “The possible regulations on minority schools must be held separately for each minority community. All communities have different problems, and the Greek community has the reciprocity issue.” 

Istanbul's Zoğrafyon Greek Primary School teacher Andon Parisyanos confirmed that there are positive developments, while similarly voicing concern over their "sustainability."

“There have been similar positive developments in the past, but these were reversed too. A legal basis is necessary in order not to experience all these once again,” Parisyanos told the Daily News on Oct. 28.

He also said the minority schools had different problems that must be held separately. “The student population of Greek schools is lower than the ones in Armenian schools. We have a reciprocity problem. Each minority must be evaluated accordingly with their own dynamics,” said Parisyanos.

Meanwhile, the issue of so called “guest students” - foreign students at minority schools - represents another problem faced by the schools.