MINISTER ÖZER MADE ANNOUNCEMENT AFTER CORONAVIRUS SCIENCE BOARD MEETINGMinister of National Education Mahmut Özer made a statement after the Corona Virus Science Board Meeting. Minister Özer said, "Each of us have duties in an effort to prevent any more interruption in face-to-face education. Schools must be the places which should be opened first and closed last. Face-to-face education is not an option anymore, it is an obligation. We cannot ask our children to make more sacrifices. We took necessary steps and will continue to do so."
Minister of National Education Mahmut Özer attended the Corona Virus Science Board Meeting chaired by the Minister of Health Fahrettin Koca.
Minister Özer made statements to the press after the end of the Science Board Meeting.
Özer expressed his gratitude to the Ministry of Health and the Science Board members who guided, assisted and coordinated the preparation process.
Noting that Covid-19 has negatively affected all fields of life varying from social life to education since its beginning and forced a radical change in the entire world, Özer said his Ministry has been working in coordination with the Ministry of Health and Science Board in an effort to reduce the impact of the pandemic on students, teachers and education workers and prioritized health.
Özer reminded that international agencies such as the World Health Organization and UNICEF stated that continuation of face-to-face education is of vital importance adding that regardless of its success, distance education cannot replace face-to-face education.
Özer stated that children of today must get their education with their peers and teachers in the classroom and stressed, "Face-to-face education is not an option anymore, it is an obligation. We cannot ask our children to make more sacrifices."
Mask, disinfectant and cleaning material for schools
Özer explained that his Ministry continues to take steps in cooperation with the Ministry of Health for face-to-face education adding that, "We have distributed the guideline concerning measures that should be taken at schools during the Covid-19 pandemic to provincial directorates of national education in 81 cities of the country and governor's offices. In addition, we have sent masks, disinfectants and cleaning materials needed at schools."
Minister Özer said that the Ministry has allocated 650 million Turkish liras for the preparation of schools for the new school year. Reminding that 223 million liras were allocated for schools last year, Özer stated that the Ministry has tripled the allocation in order to maintain a hygienic environment at schools. "Moreover, we have hired a total 113 thousand personnel for the cleaning of 58 thousand schools located in 81 cities of our country."
Orientation week at schools
Özer stated that his Ministry has the power and financial fund needed to respond to hygiene requirements at schools during the pandemic and went on to say: "The new school year will begin on September 6 but orientation has already begun for preschool and first grade students. Some of our students came to school for the very first time. A total of 2 million 359 and 422 preschool and first grade students are coming to school for the last two days. Within this framework, 165 thousand and 450 teachers are at schools. I am happy to say that no problems were reported in the last two days."
Stressing that the doors of the schools will be opened for five days a week for all grades and levels on September 6, Özer said, "I once more call on all parents, teachers, support and administrative personnel for their cooperation in order to keep schools open and prevent any interruption in education. Please, strictly follow the measures we have defined in cooperation with the Ministry of Health. I want to point out that schools must the places which should be opened first and closed last.
Electronic tracking system for the pandemic
Özer made following statements about the new electronic tracking system established as a part of the Ministry: "As we announced last week, we have founded an electronic system that will keep track of all information concerning cases, contact and vaccination data coming from all schools located in cities, districts and villages in school bases. This electronic system is open to the use of the school personnel; school principals, administrators, district and provincial directors of national education will be able to follow measures and make assessments. Of course, the Ministry of Health played a major role in this project as they share updated information with us. Consequently, we have the opportunity to keep electronic track of PCR tests, health situations and issues related to pandemics."
Answering a question about what will happen if any unvaccinated teacher or education worker refuses to take the PRC test, Özer said, he believed that teachers and education workers who worked with sacrifice for the last 1,5 years would not refuse to take the test.
Özer concluded his speech by saying: "The orientation week began for pre-school and first grade students and has continued since then. Approximately 2.5 million students and 165 thousand teachers are at school right now. We have not received any complaints about PCR tests till now. I believe that all stakeholders will hold hand in hand to overcome any possible problems.