Turkish gov’t to initiate removal of high school entrance exam: PM Yıldırım
ŞANLIURFAPrime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on Sept. 18 the government will undertake in the necessary process to remove the Turkish high school entrance exam and replace it. He stated the current system was very “stressful” for students, while the main opposition criticized the government for acting too hastily on the issue.
While the new semester began on Sept. 18, Turkey has been discussing the removal of the Transition from Primary to Secondary Education (TEOG) exam.
The issue was initially brought to the country’s agenda on Sept. 15, when President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said “he hopes TEOG will be abolished immediately,” while also stressing he found the practice wrong.
PM Yıldırım also commented on the issue on Sept. 18 in a rally addressing students at the opening of the school year in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa. “Our purpose is for our children to continue to a high school they wish, with their mind at peace—[a highschool] that is most appropriate for their abilities after middle school,” he said.
“In time, TEOG turned into a competition. It increased your stress. You lost sleep over it. It is because of this we will undertake in the necessary process to rid you of your stress and make sure you can attend the school of your choice,” Yıldırım said.
Education Ministry Undersecretary Assoc. Prof. Yusuf Tekin also commented on the issue on Sept. 18. “An [education] era that does not require a high school entrance exam will kick off. A working group has been established. In November, we will share with the public whether or not the TEOG exam will be held,” said Tekin.
Tekin also said the new model that will replace TEOG exam will be presented to Erdoğan and the ministry would release a statement regarding the matter on Sept. 20.
Meanwhile, the CHP vice-chair responsible for education, Lale Karabıyık, criticized the government’s preparations to remove the TEOG exam system. “The president is not an educator. Even if TEOG is being lifted, its replacement should be the result of serious discussions among educators,” said Karabıyık.
“In no place in the world are children used like this, as experimental objects. So to say, education has turned into the government’s toy … Without allowing the interference of politics, taking into account the interests of children and youth, this country’s educators, pedagogs and education psychology should come together and form an appropriate system without allowing education to be a toy of political power,” Karabıyık told daily Hürriyet.
Meanwhile, the start of the new academic year brought a spike in traffic volume across the country on Sept. 18.
Extra police were deployed as school buses and parents’ cars clogged the streets, bringing added strain to already congested cities like Istanbul.
Children aged five to 18 will attend school for a semester that will last until Jan. 19 at around 70,000 public and private schools, according to Yusuf Tekin.
Police have been on extra patrol around schools for the safety of pupils.