Turkish teachers under debt, recent study shows

Turkish teachers under debt, recent study shows

ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency
Turkish teachers under debt, recent study shows

A group of teachers in Turkey’s northern province of Samsun gathered together and protested their incomes prior to the day of Nov 24, Turkey’s teachers day. DHA photo

A considerable majority of Turkey’s teachers are suffering from economic hardships, according to the release of a survey that coincides with Nov. 24 Teachers’ Day.

Some 75 percent of teachers in Turkey are indebted either to their acquaintances, shopkeepers or to banks, according to the study conducted by the Strategic Research Center of the Democrat Educators’ Union (DES).

About 15 percent of teachers in the country possess home loans, 14 percent hold car loans and 31 percent are paying down consumer loans, while around 40 percent of teachers owe money to their acquaintances or shopkeepers, the study found. Some 1,045 teachers participated in the survey that was conducted on the occasion of Teachers’ Day in Turkey.

Encouragingly, 79 percent of the teachers who were surveyed said they would still pick the same profession if they had another chance, while 65 percent indicated they would like their children to follow suit and become teachers as well.

Cultural activities

When it comes to cultural and social activities, 52 percent of teachers said they did not attend any movies, concerts, plays, opera or ballet performances this year, while another 41 percent said they did not go to any conferences or symposiums.

Some 85 percent also said they were not able to read daily newspapers. “Lack of time,” “financial inadequacy” and “fatigue” were some of the leading reasons cited by the survey participants as to why they could not attend such artistic, cultural or scientific activities.

Around 69 percent of the survey takers also said they read at least one book a month.

While 94 percent of the teachers said they owned a computer, only 62 percent frequently used the Internet and their email accounts. A mere 4 percent spoke a foreign language adequately.

Some 67 percent of those surveyed expressed hope in reforms recently initiated by Education Minister Ömer Dinçer, but 83 percent said the resolution of their economic problems had to be prioritized.

Another 79 percent believe the Education Ministry is an ossified, cumbersome and heavily bureaucratized institution, according to the research.

Television series featuring teachers and schools as their subjects did not find much enthusiasm among real teachers, as 81 percent said they did not approve of such series on the grounds they tainted the image of their profession.

A sweeping 94 percent also indicated they had never resided in a lodging building, and 54 percent said they lived in rental apartments. Some 93 percent also said they brought work to their homes.

Turkey has been celebrating Teachers’ Day since the country’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, declared Nov. 24 the day to honor teachers and their profession.