Tutoring schools carry on despite risk of ban

Tutoring schools carry on despite risk of ban

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Tutoring schools carry on despite risk of ban

Students are seed at a test at a tutoring school, where they are lectured for the upcoming university exams. Hürriyet photo

Dershanes, private tutoring schools set to be abolished before the upcoming school year, continue to enroll new students in an uncertain environment that poses risks for thousands of teachers and kids.

Last September, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the dershane system, which refers to businesses offering private tutoring and preparatory courses, often aimed at university entrance exam preparation, would be abolished in the 2013-2014 school year, suggesting the companies establish schools instead. However, most of the leading dershanes have been accepting enrollment for the upcoming school year and some have been publishing announcements for placement exams, carrying on their activities as usual since there is no evidence of official progress.

There was no indication of official work or an issued ruling about such an abolishment, said Faruk Köprülü, the chairman of the Association of Private Courses (ÖZ-DE-BİR).

“The registration will start from January-February on if no problem arises. Our offer to meet with the prime minister still stands, but we haven’t heard from him yet. We are aware that he has a busy schedule, but we expect things to become clear,” Köprülü said, noting concerns of the employees in the sector, who have been worried about the uncertainty as well.

These educational institutions employed 70,209 people, 50,209 of whom were teachers, in 2011, according to the education industry report issued by the Union of Chamber and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB). Since the contract period for employees ends in June they have not renewed the contracts, but dershane managers have decided to keep making arrangements as they will continue next year until the ministry orders closure.

Waiting for clarification

“We anticipate the education minister will make an announcement by the end of this month” said İbrahim Taşel, vice chairman of TÖDER, another sector association. He said he hoped the solution to be presented would consider current employees, noting that after the elimination of the high school entrance exam, known as the SBS, the teachers working in the field had already moved to different alternatives.

There were 4,055 firms offering private tutoring services in Turkey and more than 1.2 million students attended private tutoring courses in 2011. The number of such schools was only 1,730 in 2000, with 174,496 students, according to a TOBB report.

 The sector generated total revenues amounting to more than 1.8 billion Turkish Liras and an unconsolidated profit of 62.5 million liras, based on fees of 1,500 liras per student, a large unregistered economy not included.