PRESIDENT ERDOĞAN AND MINISTER ÖZER MADE SPEECHES AT THE IMAM HATIP SCHOOLS AND RELIGIOUS EDUCATION IN TURKEY SYMPOSIUMPresident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Minister of National Education Mahmut Özer attended the Imam Hatip Schools on the 70th Anniversary of Their Reopening and Religious Education in Turkey Symposium
President Erdoğan expressed his wish that the symposium will be a blessing for the imam hatip community, country and all humanity during his speech at the symposium and expressed his gratitude to foreign academicians for their contribution.
Erdoğan thanked all imam hatip volunteers who made contributions to the development of this distinguished education institute and especially those who laid the foundation of imam hatip schools 70 years ago.
"İmam hatip graduates are the symbol of blessed struggle"
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stressed that 70 year old well established imam hatip schools have always been the symbol of blessed struggle which carried out with patience, will and sincerity in every step and went on to say that:
"Actually, the history of imam hatip schools is the history of the right, justice and independence struggle of our people. Since their establishment, these schools have become the milestone that shows the standard of democracy in this country. Path of these schools opened when the shadow of the custodian regime on the national will was lifted. During the coup and dictatorship periods, our people, just like imam hatip schools, were oppressed."
President Erdoğan noted that imam hatip schools became the target again during the February 28 process and secondary school sections of imam hatip schools were closed as a result of 8 years uninterrupted education imposition and prevented imam hatip school graduates from enrolling in universities.
"In 2011, we ended this, one year later we reopened the secondary school section of these schools and thank Allah, we have ended the interregnum period of imam hatip schools," Erdoğan said.
Stating that 3 year high school section of imam hatip schools were opened in 1954 and Higher Islam Institutes where graduates of imam hatip schools can enroll was established in 1959, Erdoğan said that secondary school section of these schools were closed down in the March 12 memorandum and high school education was prolonged to 4 years.
"We have ended the interregnum period of imam hatip schools"
"Graduates of imam hatip schools like my own children had to postpone their university dreams or studied abroad for 13 years. First in 2011, we lifted coefficient application in the education and then a year later, we reopened secondary school section of imam hatip schools and thanks to Allah, we have ended the interregnum period," said Erdoğan and reminded that himself and his children are also graduated from imam hatip schools.
President Erdoğan stated that they have been struggling in an effort to rewrite the story and change the ill fate of the nation for 40 years.
"We have witnessed the comfort that came after struggle despite all difficulties"
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reminded that the Quran says that there is always comfort after every difficulty adding that, "Many times, we have witnessed the comfort that came after struggle despite all difficulties. We have seen the brightness that came after the custodian regime shadowed our country. "
Noting that imam hatip schools which were about to be closed down during February 28, are now among most preferred schools of the country, President Erdoğan went on to say that, "Number of students enrolled in imam hatip schools were around 64 thousand when we came to power and this figure reached 1 million and 415 million today. Rate of imam hatip school students in general number of students in secondary and high school education reached 14 percent. Success rate of imam hatip school students in the university exams gradually increases. For example, there were 387 imam hatip students who ranked in the most successful 1000 students in the university exams held in 2021. In addition to university exams, imam hatip students won awards in the science, technology and foreign language contests organized by TÜBİTAK or as a part of Teknofest.
President Erdoğan stated that the reputation of imam hatip schools went beyond the borders of the country in recent years and many countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Malaysia asked Turkey's suggestions about this system. Erdoğan added that imam hatip schools which offer science and social science lessons in addition to religious education became a good example for the Muslim world with its original education model.
"Rate of female students continue to remain in 53 percent in İmam hatip schools since 2016"
Noting that 12000 international students from more than 89 countries of the World are studying in imam hatip schools in Turkey, Erdoğan said that number of these students will increase as soon as the world recognizes the role of imam hatip schools in the fight against terror organizations that is abusing religion such as FETÖ, ISIS, Eş, Şebab and Boko Haram.
President Erdoğan stressed that imam hatip schools also made contribution to increasing schooling rate among female students in the Muslim world.
"Rate of female students which was 23.5 percent in 1990 reached 53 percent in 2016 and has remained at this level since then," he said.
"Graduates of imam hatip schools have always been sincerely loyal to their country during the 70 year long history of these schools"
Stressing that considering these schools are a place to educate imams and clerics will be wrong, Erdoğan said, "Our people embrace these schools as they educate religious, moral, patriot, idealist, hardworking graduates with high self-esteem Graduates of imam hatip schools have always been sincerely loyal to their country during the 70 year long history of these schools. Among the graduates of these schools are clerics, doctors, engineers, judges, lawyers, bureaucrats, businessmen, ministers, prime ministers and a president but thanks to Allah, there were not traitors who aim their own people. This is the reason why those who cooperated with the coup plotters during February 28 and who rented their minds and wills to the charlatan in Pennsylvania are hostile against imam hatip schools."
"We will be against the mentality that discriminates students and society according to the types of their schools"
Meanwhile, Minister of National Education Mahmut Özer said during his speech at the symposium, "We will always be against the mentality that discriminates students and society according to the types of their schools. We continue to work in an effort to maintain equality in education and establish justice in every corner of our country."
Noting that the education system will be functional and democratic as long as it responds to the social needs and demands of the society, Özer stated, "If social demands are neglected or worse oppressed, then there will be an oppressive education system. Turkey witnessed the most oppressive education system of its history at the end of 1990s. Citizens of the Republic of Turkey did not only experience a devastating earthquake in 1999 but also a strong earthquake in the education system. Coefficient application in the education system in 1999 limited the accession of imam hatip school graduates to higher education and caused a serious damage in religious education."
Özer said that the mentioned interventions in the education harmed vocational education and imam hatip schools but improvements were achieved for the normalization of these schools under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan upon social demand.
"As of 2021, there are 1,5 million students enrolled in imam-hatip schools. I would like to emphasize that one of the most important silent revolutions we have achieved in the last 20 year was to carry "religion, state, society" relationship to a healthy ground and remove religious education outside ideological disputes."
Özer reminded that lifting the headscarf ban and coefficient application are among the most tangible examples of this silent revolution.
"İmam Hatip Schools are a model for the World"
Minister Mahmut Özer went on to say that, "Reopening of imam-hatip schools, elective courses on the life of the Prophet, Quran and basic religious classes are the outcome of a democratic education system that responds to social demands. We will never allow unfair discrimination against any of our school types like it happened in the past. We will continue to work in an effort to maintain equality in education and establish justice in every corner of our country. On July 15, we bitterly experienced what kind of wounds were made in our country and geography as a result of the ban on religious education and the emergence of religious misunderstandings and how this problem caused great problems."
Noting that imam-hatip schools are among well-established education systems that became an example for many countries, Özer said, "Imam-hatip schools represent the reflection of the establishment of a balanced relationship between tradition and future."
Minister of National Education Mahmut Özer, AK Party Deputy Chairman Numan Kurtulmuş, President of Religious Affairs Ali Erbaş, İstanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya, deputies, teachers and students were also present at the symposium.