Turkish students to train in sports in line with abilities: Ministries

Turkish students to train in sports in line with abilities: Ministries

ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
Turkish students to train in sports in line with abilities: Ministries

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Fifth grade students will undergo tests to determine sports compatible with their talents and body type, and will receive training in the sports respectively, according to a new protocol signed between Turkey’s Ministry of Education and Ministry of Youth and Sports. The agreement aims to expand the understanding of academic success while increasing the country’s number of licensed sportspeople. 

“Each child will be regularly tested on his or her sportive abilities, preferences and interests, in addition to current routine procedures carried out by the Youth and Sports Ministry,” Education Minister Nabi Avcı said during an April 19 press conference held at the ministry’s Head Teacher (“Başöğretmen”) Hall, adding that pilot schemes had already been completed in a number of schools across Turkey. 

“Each of our children will be steered towards a branch in line with his or her abilities and will receive special training in that field,” Avcı said, stressing their aim to ensure each child holds a sports license within the next eight years as the tests are set to start at the beginning of the 2016-2017 academic year. 

The minister also touched on an expansion of the current definition of “academic success,” which is currently measured by grades earned in class and test results.

“Students’ efforts and successes in sports will also be taken into consideration, in addition to their academic results,” Avcı said, explaining such achievements could be added to their scores from the Transition from Primary to Secondary Education (TEOG) exam.

In response to a question regarding a lack of sports facilities in some schools and districts across the country, the minister discussed plans to build new sports facilities or improve already existing ones, in cooperation with the Sports Ministry. 

Sports Minister Akif Çağatay Kılıç praised the plan, suggesting it will greatly contribute to increasing the number of certified athletes in Turkey.

“A country of 79 million citizens should have a lot more licensed sportspeople. I believe this work will be an immense contribution [to raising the number of certified sportspeople],” Kılıç said, adding the number had risen 20 fold over the past 14 years, since the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in 2002. 

Meanwhile, Minister Avcı said the protocol with the Sports Ministry is part of a grand scheme to diversify students’ interests in areas other than academic studies. 

“We will introduce new fields to our children in sports, arts and culture, in line with their abilities,” the minister said, adding the protocol comes as a gift ahead of the National Sovereignty and Children’s Holiday on April 23rd, which will be marked “quietly” (without government fanfare) this year due to ongoing anti-terror operations in the country’s southeast.