Education in Turkey

Education in Turkey

The Turkish Education System was built in accordance with the Atatürk's Reforms after the Turkish War of Independence. It is a state supervised system which was designed to create a skillful manpower for the social and economic process of the country. [cite journal | last = Özelli | first = M. Tunç
title = The Evolution of the Formal Educational System and Its Relation to Economic Growth Policies in the First Turkish Republic
journal = International Journal of Middle East Studies |issn = 0020-7438 | publisher = Cambridge University Press |location = London
volume = 5 | issue = 1 | pages = 77–92 | month = January | year = 1974
url =

Turkish system mandates 8 years of primary education between the ages of 6 and 14, and in 2001 enrollment of children in this age range was nearly 100%. For 14-18 year olds three or more years of secondary education are available in public, distance-learning, and vocational high schools. About 95% of students attend public schools, but inadequacies of the public system increasingly motivates middle-class parents to seek private education.

In 2001 some 1,273 institutions of higher learning were in operation. Except for the "Open Education Faculty" ( _tr. Açıköğretim Fakültesi) at Anadolu University, entrance is regulated by a national examination, ÖSS, after which high school graduates are assigned to the limited university space available, according to their performance. Annually, about 1.5 million students graduate from Turkish high schools.Fact|date=March 2007

In 2002, the total expenditure on education in Turkey amounted to $13.4 billion, including the state budget allocated through the National Ministry of Education and private and international funds. [ [ 2002 Report by Turkish Statistical Institute] , Prime Ministry of the Republic of Turkey.]


In the autumn of the year children turn five they might attend kindergartens (KG) (public or private). The state does not have the necessary capacity to provide KG classes to all children. However, in August 2007 the government declared a target of 50% of children attending KG by 2011.

Elementary school

The elementary school provides 8 years of education for children between the ages of 6 and 14. In primary school, basic information, Turkish language, Mathematics, Sciences, Social Sciences, Art, Music, Physical Education, Handicraft, English language and sometimes another foreign language (generally French or German) are taught. There are public (governmental) and private primary schools. Public elementary schools are free, while fee-paying private schools offer the same basic curriculum, but supplemented with extra-curricular activities typically including more English classes as well as swimming, more sports and better facilities in general.

At the end of 8th grade, students take an exam, OKS, which lasts for 2 hours and is composed of about 100 questions. It tests the students' skills in Turkish, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences and English according to the elementary school curriculum. According to their scores, children are placed in different kinds of high schools. But this is currently change to SBS. In the end of 6th, 7th and 8th grade students take an exam. Making total 3 exams. In the end of 8th grade all of the exams are gathered together.

High school

High school lasts 4 years, with some high schools having an additional year of preparatory classes in a foreign language. The different kinds of high schools of the Turkish education system include: "Public High Schools", the standard type; "Anatolian High Schools" which provide more lessons in a selected foreign language (English, German or French); "Anatolian Imam-Hatip High Schools" which have a same curriculum as Anatolian High Schools with lessons about religion; "Science High Schools" focusing on science education; "Vocational High Schools", which focus on a certain type of profession (such as "Tourism Vocational High Schools", "Industrial Vocational High Schools", and "Electrical Vocational High Schools"; "Imam-Hatip High Schools", different type of general high school with lessons about religion; and finally, "Private High Schools", which are established by private enterprises.

There are 7934 High Schools in Turkey as of 2007

The lessons taught in high schools' 9th and 10th grades are:
*Turkish Language and Literature
*Turkish History
*English language
*Second Foreign Language (German, French, Italian, Japanese, Arabic, Russian languages)
*National Security
*Health Studies
*Profession Lessons (only in "Vocational High Schools")
*Courses on Religion (only in "Anatolian Imam-Hatip High Schools and Imam-Hatip High Schools")

When students complete the 9th grade, they choose one of four tracks: "Turkish language–Mathematics", "Science", "Social Sciences", and "Languages". In "Vocational High Schools" no tracks are offered, while in "Science High Schools" only the "Science" tracks is offered.

At the end of high school, following the 12th grade, students take a "High School Finishing Examination" and they are required to pass this in order to take the ÖSS and continue their studies at a university. Exam scores are weighted to provide students in each track with different opportunities when entering higher education, as follows:

*"Turkish language–Mathematics": International Relations, Law, Education, Psychology, Economy, Business Management, and the like.
*"Science": Engineering, Computer Science, Medicine, and other Science related professions.
*"Social Sciences": History, Geography, and Education.
*"Languages": Language/Linguistics and language teaching.


After the national university entrance examination ÖSS ( _tr. Öğrenci Seçme Sınavı) organized by ÖSYM, if they succeed, students continue with their studies at a university.

Universities provide either two or four years of education for undergraduate studies whereas for graduate studies, a further two years are necessary, as is typical throughout the world. There are around 820 higher education institutions including universities with a total student enrollment of over 1 million. Major universities are located in Istanbul and Ankara. Tertiary education is the responsibility of the Higher Education Council, and funding is provided by the state for public institutions that make up the bulk of the tertiary education system. There are 118 universities in Turkey, which are classified as either public or foundational (private) and 373,353 students were graduated from these universities in 2006. Public universities typically charge very low fees and foundational are highly expensive with fees that can reach $15,000 per annum, and as such, a majority of students in tertiary education attend public institutions. Since 1998, universities have been given greater autonomy and were encouraged to raise funds through partnerships with industry.

The quality of education at the Turkish universities varies greatly, some providing education and facilities on par with internationally renowned schools (for the technical universities, often compared with the universities in the United States, as there are several Turkish universities regularly visited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, the recognized U.S. accreditor of college and university programs, and their engineering programs deemed substantially equivalent to comparable programs at the U.S. universities), and these reflect as the popularity of a university in students' choices at the ÖSS examination.

University studies last between 2 and 4 years for the undergraduate level, and 2 or more years for the graduate level. Some universities also ask for an additional year of English preparatory study to be completed before the start of studies, unless a proficiency examination is passed.

Turkish universities actively participate in the Socrates - Erasmus program of the European Commission, aiming to increase student and academician mobility within the European Union, the European Economic Area countries, and other EU candidate states. An increasing number of Turkish university students complete a part of their studies abroad at other participating countries' universities, and Turkish universities receive students of the same status from abroad.

With the passage of law 2547, the rectors of all the public universities are appointed jointly by the faculty, Higher Education Council and the President of Turkey. [cite news|url=
title=Prof. Soysal: Most Turkish universities are still autocratic
work=Today's Zaman
first=Yonca Poyraz
quote=Before law No. 2547, rectors were appointed only by the president. Then upon the initiative of some of the universities, including Boğaziçi University, the system was changed. Now there is a middle ground: Both voting by the faculty and YÖK are involved in the process. As a result, YÖK and the president are involved in appointing rectors.
] The current president, Abdullah Gül, has suggested that the system might be changed to eliminate the Higher Education Council and political influence. [cite news|url=
title=Rektörleri cumhurbaşkanı seçmemeli
quote=Üniversiteler yeniden yapılanırken rektörlerin seçimi veya tayini ile ilgili yeni bir usul olması lazım. Bunlarda siyasi yarış gibi seçim olmaması lazım. Önemli olan bir üniversitenin rekabetinin büyümesinin gelişmesinin öne alınması lazım. Ben yeni bir sistemin getirilmesini, cumhurbaşkanının hiç bu işe karışmamasını arzu ediyorum. Bu konuda hem hükümete hem meclise çağrıda bulunmak isterim.


The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) coordinates basic and applied research and development, acting on proposed policies by the Turkish Academy of Sciences (TÜBA). There are more than 60 research institutes and organizations. Turkey's R&D strengths include agriculture, forestry, health, biotechnology, nuclear technologies, minerals, materials, IT, and defense.


External links

* [ Ministry of National Education] tr en
* [ Population and Development Indicators] , by the Turkish Statistical Institute, Prime Ministry of the Republic of Turkey (Turkish and English)

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