Turkish gov’t unveils new high school entrance system based on open-ended questions
The Turkish government is replacing a multiple choice high school entrance exam with a single open-ended style exam which will not, by itself, determine a student’s success, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on Sept. 29.
Students’ success will be determined through a cumulative average of their final school grades starting from fifth grade, combined with the examination result at the end of middle school.
“What is the student leaning toward? Sports, arts or mathematics? This will be identified and they will take an examination at the end of eight grade which will then be matched with that previous area identification,” Yıldırım said at the opening ceremony of Çanakkale 18 Mart University in Turkey’s west.
The single examination students will take at the end of eight grade will not consist of multiple choice questions as before. The open-ended question test will be evaluated outside the school, and the questions will be provided by a “question bank.”
“I have a granddaughter, Bahar, who is in sixth grade. When I saw her, she hugged me and said how great it is that the Transition from Primary to Secondary Education [TEOG] exam has been removed,” Yıldırım said. “Even she is under TEOG stress and she has two years ahead of her,” the prime minister added.
Yıldırım also said the university entrance examination system will also change, get simpler and will not depend on a single test.
The issue was initially brought to the country’s agenda on Sept. 15 when President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said “I hope TEOG will be abolished immediately,” while also stressing he found the practice wrong.
“Don’t we have shortcomings in the national education [system]? Yes, we do. We will overcome them. For example, I do not want TEOG anymore and I find it wrong. It needs to be removed,” Erdoğan told private broadcaster A Haber late on Sept. 15.
During a press briefing before his departure to the United States to attend the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 17, Erdoğan was asked for his comments on the exam and which stage the removal process was at.
“There is no obstacle for its immediate removal. It is a very simple issue,” Erdoğan told journalists, as he added that he discussed the subject with Yıldırım on Sept. 16.
“It is possible for this step to be taken with our prime minister and minister friends immediately,” he also said.
Yıldırım then, on Sept. 18, said the government will undertake 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.
CHP criticizes move
The main opposition Republican Peoples’ Party’s (CHP) deputy chair in charge of education, Lale Karabıyık, criticized the government’s preparations to remove the TEOG exam system.
“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 tool… Without allowing the interference of politics, taking into account the interests of children and youth, this country’s educators, child psychologists and education psychologists should come together and form an appropriate system without allowing education to be a tool of political power,” Karabıyık told daily Hürriyet.