Turkish families launch campaign amid claims over closure of schools for hearing impaired
Esra Ülkar/Gülseven Özkan – ISTANBULFamilies of hearing impaired children have launched a campaign on change.org after recent claims that special schools offering education for children with permanent hearing loss under the auspices of the Turkish Education Ministry will be closed down.
“The closure of schools for the hearing impaired has become the topic of conversation [in Turkey]. Our students being transferred to the integrated education system is being considered. We, as people close to deaf culture, know that integrated education does not have any benefit on the hearing impaired, and also discourages them and leads them to becoming asocial individuals. That is why we demand that our schools are not shut down,” the petition said.
The number of people to sign the petition reached 14,000 on Aug. 4.
According to the Education Ministry’s 2016-2017 data, there are 219,728 students from various disability categories but are placed in regular schools within the body of the Education Ministry. Of those students, 10,164 are hearing impaired.
Additionally, some 2,671 children with hearing loss are attending 105 private education institutions.
If a student does not attend an integrated public school, along with other non-disabled students, they can also benefit from special schools within the body of the ministry again. But according to the recent claims, these special schools face the risk of being shut down, and their students will be transferred to integrated schools, sparking worry and anger among families and prompting them to launch the petition called “Do not close down the schools for the hearing impaired!”
The claims mounted especially after two such schools for children with hearing impairment were shut down.
The Çamlık Special Education Vocational High School in the northern province of Trabzon’s Ortahisar district was recently closed down and its hearing impaired students were transferred to a school in the Central Anatolian province of Çorum. The parents had protested the issue last month and called on authorities to take action.
The district governor of Trabzon’s Ortahisar, Numan Hatioğlu, meanwhile said they had conducted a meeting with parents and their priority was to maintain the education in the current school in the district, prompting them to convey their demand to the Education Ministry.
A special education vocational high school in the northern province of Samsun, established in 1996, was another school to get shut down, with its students being transferred to Çorum. The school was closed down after the number of its student fell notably in recent years. In a bid to stop this move, the Samsun provincial director of national education prepared a report that the number of students in the school can be increased, with plans to send the report to the ministry itself.