Reforming the education system has remained an important item on the AK Party’s agenda since coming to power in 2002. It’s also remained a problem that the government is still trying to overcome.
Various changes have been made in the system, trying to ensure an adaptive and inclusive system for all – including the 3+ million refugees that Turkey hosts.
On 23 October Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke at the 2023 Education Vision program organized by the Ministry of National Education, in which the 2023 Education Vision report was published.
During his speech, the President firstly highlighted how important education has been for the AK Party and how the government has increased the education budget from 7,5 billion to 92 billion Turkish Liras.
“We’ve worked really hard to change the infrastructure of the education system and to get rid of the various prohibitions of the previous regimes.”
“When we first entered office, we had problems such as classrooms of 60-70 students and classrooms with no teachers. These days have gone.”
“Compulsory education has been increased to 12 years and this has been maintained through the 4+4+4 system.”
Emphasizing the importance of an educated population for the growth of the country, President Erdogan also highlighted that “obtaining a diploma is not the only aim. We’re working to encourage extra curricular activities for students.”
Referring to the failed July 15 coup attempt, President Erdogan underlined how FETO tried to manipulate the weakness of the education system in its plan to topple the government.
The Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) is well known to have provide its own followers exam questions and answers to important exams including the higher education entrance.
Referring to the fact that the AK Party government are yet to obtain the results they want from the reforms made in education, Erdogan stated, “When you make mistakes in other parts of policy areas, you lose time and money. But with mistakes in education, you lose generations.”
2023 Education Vision
Highlighting the cultural importance attached to teachers, Erdogan stated, “Teachers play a very important role in our 2023 vision. New laws will be introduced in regards to the teaching profession.”
“We’re going to develop the standards of teachers to the level they deserve.”
While there are many infant schools in Turkey, sending children to pre-school education is not compulsory in Turkey. With the announcement made by Erdogan, it has become clear that the government is working to make this compulsory. This is arguably one of the biggest highlights of the education package, as parents (especially working parents) suffer greatly from having to send their children to private institutions.
“When we first established our party, we promised to increase the standards of 4 things: education, health, justice, safety. Thankfully, until today, we’ve accomplished a lot of achievements in these areas. I’m sure that we’re going to continue.”
“There is no city in Turkey today left with no university. There’s at least one in every city. This means that children that cannot afford to leave home for university can study in their home towns.”
"I'm sure that we're going to reach our objectives year-by-year and by 2023 have an education system that suits our country."