Turkish government to rent buildings to relieve school shortage

Turkish government to rent buildings to relieve school shortage

Turkish government to rent buildings to relieve school shortage

Education Minister Ömer Dinçer speaks at a ceremony for the opening of 22 newly-built schools in Istanbul. AA photo

The government is planning to rent buildings from private firms or people to alleviate the shortage of classrooms that has long plagued Turkey’s education system, Education Minister Ömer Dinçer said yesterday.

Responding to criticism that Turkey lacks the infrastructure required for the controversial new education reforms, Dinçer said yesterday the issue of school shortages was not a new one and that Ankara had already drawn up plans to resolve the problem. “We’ll use two new methods. The first will be renting, and the second one will be through partnerships between the public and private sectors,” he said.
Stressing that land prices and expropriation costs were too high in big cities, the minister said the government was planning to rent buildings if owners of empty plots agree to build them. Under the second option, the private sector would build “education campuses” where the government would rent buildings.

Meanwhile, main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu appealed to President Abdullah Gül to consult with pedagogues and civic groups before making his decision on whether to approve the much-criticized education bill, approved by Parliament last month.

“The President could invite education faculty deans, leaders of non-governmental groups involved in education, and pedagogues, in order to take their views. We cannot tolerate the education system being torn to pieces,” Kılıçdaroğlu told reporters in Ankara over the weekend.The legislation “will bring about many problems. I hope the President will take this into account,” he said.

In a separate development, the Religious Affairs Directorate issued a regulation that removed the age limit for children attending summer Quran courses.

The courses were previously only open to students who have completed the five-year primary education. The new regulation is based on a government legislative decree that scrapped the age limit.