MINISTER ÖZER COMMENTS ABOUT ON THE EDUCATION AGENDA ON TRT NEWS CHANNELMinister of National Education Mahmut Özer made comments on the education agenda during a live program at the TRT News channel.
Here are some excerpts from Bakan Özer's statements:
We started preparations for the 2022-2023 school year earlier this year. Right after the end of last school year on June 17, we organized meetings with all school principals. We worked in order to respond to all needs of schools, allocate budget for preparations and complete preparations for the new school year.
For the first time this year, we distributed free supplementary study books in addition to text books which were provided to all students for free as a part of equal opportunity in education. Approximately 136 million supplementary books were distributed to all students enrolled in 2nd grade to 12th grade.
On the other hand, the Ministry of National Education was allocating a budget to secondary education institutions but it was not allocating any budget to basic education, preschool, primary education institutions and secondary schools. For the first time in the history of our education, we allocated a budget to all schools for purchasing stationery, cleaning materials, completing minor repairs and enriching the school environment. This is actually a silent revolution. School principals and teachers will no longer need to be involved in financial relationships with parents.
For years, there have been speculations about tuition fees and there was a wrong common view that parents are obliged to make donations during registration. We end this speculation that caused a belief that the Ministry could not respond to the needs of schools. Parents can make donations if they wish but school administrations are not allowed to ask for money in order to register a student.
Our goal is to increase schooling rates in all levels of education varying from preschool to higher education.
We allow all students to use the workshops and other opportunities of the Science and Arts Centers (BİLSEMs) in order to reinforce the Teknofest youth infrastructure.
We prioritized mathematics and foreign language literacy. We opened summer schools and there was an incredible demand. Approximately 1 million students enrolled in the summer schools and courses. Next summer, we will expand the content of summer schools.
One of the most important success stories of Türkiye is the massification of education, in other words, its success to decrease the number of students per teacher figure despite its rapidly increasing number of students.
Approximately 75 percent of existing teachers in our education system were appointed in the last twenty years and 59 percent of these teachers are women.
Our goal is to see 20,000 thousand newly appointed classrooms on September 12.
In the last twenty years, we have appointed teachers every year. Depending on changing and updated education policies of our Ministry, we will assign teachers to different branches.
The Teaching Career Steps Exam was also valid in 2005 and 2006 but there was a certain quota. The new system allows all teachers who get 70 grades and higher to become an expert and head teacher.
The new teaching career steps system does not encourage teachers to compete with each other; they compete against themselves.
Teaching Profession Law
We will give all kinds of support in order to minimize concerns about this law.
There is some speculation that it will cause a distinction between teachers. There are already 75 thousand expert teachers and 90 head teachers in our education system. Did you ever hear a parent asking his child to be raised by an expert teacher or a head teacher? This law is about employee personal rights of teachers.
There are already experts and head teachers in the education system and the career exam is not new either. We did not organize a new exam or we did not amend the exam while passing this law. Now, it is under the guarantee of the Teaching Profession Law. There is nothing new about it.
With Allah's permission, we will manage the exam process and see the majority of teachers becoming expert and head teachers on December 19.
We increased the schooling rate with a 70 years delay.
There is a deep rooted problem we must solve: success differences among schools. The reason for this problem is the wrong practices in the past.
All OECD countries want to increase the schooling rate of preschool education to 100 percent.
Preschool education has many advantages varying from supporting cognitive academic skills of children to their emotional development, from teaching children to act in harmony with their peers to preventing future addictions.
Our goal is to increase the schooling rate of five year old children to 100 percent. We have initiated a project with the purpose of opening 3,000 new kindergartens and 40 thousand new preschool classrooms and developed four approaches:
1- Construction of new kindergarten buildings
2- Restoration of closed down buildings and open them as kindergartens
3- Using night BİLSEMs as kindergartens during the day.
4- If there are vacant classrooms or more than four preschool classrooms in one school, we convert these classrooms into independent kindergartens.
Believe me, this will be an important contribution to education in the long term.
Academically success students started to enroll in vocational high schools
Coefficient practice deformed the vocational education. There were three consequences of this practice. First of all, the labor market suffered from difficulty finding the employees they needed. Secondly, success differences between schools got deeper due to homogenous groupings in schools. Thirdly, if you group disadvantaged children in one type of school, teachers will have less success expectation from these students and this type of education turns vocational high school students into a group of disadvantaged students. This is what happened in the past.
Today, we work together with all of our stakeholders in order to reinforce the vocational education system.
Our focus in vocational education is to include the private sector to the education process. In other words, the sector cooperates with us in updating the education program, planning skill training programs at real workplaces and on the job and professional development training programs of teachers. Sector also prioritizes vocational education students in employment. These steps increased demand for vocational education high schools. Academically successful students who ranked among the 1 percent in exams started to enroll in newly opened vocational high schools such as ASELSAN, Teknopark İstanbul, Konya and İTÜ Vocational and Technical Anatolia High Schools.
Our goal was to register 7,500 patents, useful models and brands in 2022. We already registered 7,800 products and the year is not over yet. For the first time in their history, vocational high schools commercialized their registered products.
Number of apprentices and foremen in vocational education centers increased from 159 thousand to 710 thousand.
We made three amendments in the Vocational Education Law. Number of apprentices and foremen in vocational education centers was 159 thousand before the amendments and today this figure is 710 thousand. As President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced earlier, our goal is to enroll 1 million young people in these centers until the end of this year.
We adamantly continued face-to-face education in the 2021-2022 school year after a one and a half year break because we believe the schools must close last and open first. It is not possible to make sacrifices about face-to-face education.
In the past, people were migrating from villages to districts, cities and metropolises and today, people were moving back to villages. Due to this reason, we decided to open closed down village schools.
We carried out a three-phased plan; first of all, there is no longer a student quota for opening a village school, secondly, the number of students required to open preschool class is decreased from 10 to 5 students. Thirdly, we opened public education courses for adults in the village schools. Till now, we inaugurated 800 village public centers and we plan to convert all village schools into village public education centers until the end of 2022.
We also plan to integrate women's cooperatives in villages to the village public centers.
As a part of 10,000 Schools in Basic Education, we selected ten thousand schools which have opportunity differences when compared with other schools and completed the project within a year. We allocated 3 billion lira budget for minor repairs, building improvement and libraries as a part of the project. In other words, we made positive discrimination for these schools.
We also initiated the "No More Schools Without Libraries" project with the support of Emine Erdoğan on October 26, 2021 in order to reduce success differences between schools. At the end of 2021, there were no more schools without libraries in Türkiye. Number of books in school libraries increased from 28 million to 80 million and this figure will reach 100 million until the end of 2022.
Our goal is to produce education materials that will support the development of our children and lift this burden from the shoulders of parents.
Free supplementary sources are an important instrument in the reinforcement of equal opportunity in education. We see that parents are extremely happy about free sources.
We are planning to blend supplementary sources to the content of textbooks next year.
Our grades in PISA and TIMSS are gradually increasing.
We constantly increased the quality and accessibility of the education system.
We wish all students a successful school year.