Turkish PM makes new offers in prep schools row
Erdoğan said teachers currently working at dersanes would not remain unemployed when the schools are shuttered as a result of government reforms. DHA PhotoTurkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has reiterated his determination to close private examination prep schools, known as “dersanes,” but made new offers to schools owners and teachers over their future.
“If you [owners of dersanes] want to contribute to education, we will give you incentives so that you can establish your [private] schools. We will give you lower credits. We will give you immunity from taxes in certain proportions. We will make you exempt from energy costs,” Premier Erdoğan said.
Erdoğan also said the state would cover the expenses of half of students in such private schools established by dersane owners. “How many students did you find? [Let’s say] 15. We will pay the expenses of the other 15 students. At least we could say that we have sent poor students to private schools,” said Erdoğan, Doğan News Agency reported.
Erdoğan also said teachers currently working at dersanes would not remain unemployed when the schools are shuttered as a result of government reforms. The prime minister said dersane teachers over 40 years old would be allowed to work as teachers in the public schools, after interviews, in response to daily Zaman’s top story yesterday. Around 20,000 teachers working at private dersanes are over 40 and are not eligible to work at a public institution according to the law, Zaman had reported.
Erdoğan accused those opposing the closure of making excuses, adding that the state would recruit dersane teachers in public schools. Meanwhile, Erdoğan told daily Hürriyet on Nov. 24 that he would not withdraw plans to close down the dersanes.
“I call on all owners of dersanes to transform them into private schools immediately. We will give all incentives. Nobody should expect a withdrawal [of plans about dersanes] as long as I am in this position. [These plans] will be completed by June . We will get feedback from our ministers and then issue our draft,” Erdoğan told Hürriyet on the plane while returning from Russia to Turkey. The government’s recent work to close down dersanes has created controversy between the government and Islamic scholar Fetullah Gülen’s followers. Gülen community members own dersanes across Turkey, and the community and its media organs have fiercely criticized the move.
Erdoğan said there was no plan to close down study centers which offer free education. Speaking to Hürriyet, Erdoğan said the Social Support Program (SODES) was the largest study center project in Turkey and that most of the teachers recruited there were from the Gülen community.
“They are making distortions in [another] issue as well. We are not closing down the study centers. SODES is one of their largest. A majority of the teachers working here are from the community,” said Erdoğan.
He also said his government had never refused any demand from the community. “What did the members of the community bring Tayyip Erdoğan that Tayyip Erdoğan refused?”
Education Minister Nabi Avcı, meanwhile, said yesterday that they would conduct eight workshops to solicit the opinions of dersane owners, teachers and students.