‘Wonder Child Act’ is no longer active
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Pianist İdil Biret was the first child who took advantage of the act in 1948.Turkish artists such as Suna Kan, İdil Biret and Emrecan Yavuz are among those who have benefitted from Turkey’s “Wonder Child Act,” which allows children of exceptional talent to study abroad with state support. However, in the past nine years no one has received a scholarship under this act, according to an article in Hürriyet.
Recently, a question Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Gülsün Bilgehan asked of Culture Minister Ertuğrul Günay revealed that it has been nine years since Turkey has supported a student under Act 5245, the “Wonder Child Act,” which went into effect in 1948. The act supports children who demonstrate exceptional ability in an artistic field to study abroad and get the education they need. The act’s biggest supporter was former Prime Minister İsmet İnönü. İdil Biret was the first beneficiary of the act in 1948, when she went abroad at the age of 7.
Later Suna Kan went abroad to study when she was 12 years old, with all of her expenses met by the government until the age of 16. In 1956 the scope of the act aas broadened to read that “Children who show an outstanding talent in the fine arts will be sent abroad as necessary.” Those applying for support under the act took an examination in their field, and a jury of ten people chose which applicants would go to study abroad. Turkish artists such as Fuat Kent, Gülsin Onay, Ateş Pars, Selman Ada, and Hüseyin Sermet were among those who benefitted from the act. However, after 1968, the act began to fall into disuse. In 1976 a statue requiring applicants to represent an “exclusive case” came into effect.
Children with outstanding talent were sent abroad to study under various scholarships. The first beneficiaries of this act were Oya Ünler and Burçin Büke in 1986 and 1987. Fazıl Say also went abroad to study under the statute. After 1998, the act once again began to fall into disuse.