Education is the act or process of providing knowledge skills or competence by a formal course of instruction or training. Through out history societies have sought to educate their people to produce goods and services, to respond effectively and creatively to their world, and to satisfy their curiosity and aesthetic impulses. To achieve reliable knowledge and to think systematically. Over the course of human history education has appeared in many forms, both foreclosed and informal. Major thinkers have always recognized the educational value of intellectual exploration and of concrete experimentation. Most societies have attempted to standardized the behavior of their members. These societies have apprenticeship systems by which the young have learned to imitate the beliefs and behaviors of a given group. Teachers have worked within schools of thought cults, monasteries and other types of organizations to shape desired convictions, knowledge and behavior. Such philosophical and religious leaders as the Buddha, Confucious, Pythagoras, Jesus, Moses, Muhammad and Karl Marx instructed their disciplines through informal education.
Turkish State and Turkish Society give great importance to the education since the Turkish Republic was established in 1923. The fall of Ottoman Empire at the end of the first world war and the foundation of the republic after the successful conclusion of the war of independence are two important factors which have made the existence of the new Turkish Society possible. The great desire of this society which is adopted in the social and economic fields to the general life conditions of western civilizations is to work for the benefit of mankind while enjoying all the privileges of civilized life within the family of Nations. In order to reach this goal, it has above all been necessary to establish an educational system in all its stages in such a way as to diffuse its light to all classes of the population.
Bases of the Turkish Education leans to the last years of the Ottoman Empire. The road towards modern education was charted by Selim III and Mahmud II and was followed with accelerated speed by their successors. In the 1876 constitution, educational reforms had been mentioned for the first time For education continued to be regarded as the necessary foundation for the reorganization of the empire and the creation of a cadre of new leaders to maintain it As one contemporary writer put it The solution of the sick man was not through extermination but through education. Educational reorganization and westernization were seen as a necessary condition in the general movement towards the social and political modernization of the Ottoman State and Society. The Tanzimat Period was characteristics by attempts to set up a modern administrative framework and a grade system of schools different in many respects from traditional institutional arrangements. Except his trial to bring back autocracy to the Ottoman State he was successful he had faith in the value of education.
The constitution of 1876 provided that all schools should be under government supervision and the first stage of education should be compulsory under the young Turk regime another attempt was made to reform the system of primary education. In 1913 a new law enforced, aimed at public support at primary schools and better organization of the program of study Provisory Primary Education Law (Tedrisat ptidai Kanunu) consists compulsory and free six year education in public schools and limitation of class size not more than fifty pupils. High institutions such as Galatasaray, Daruafaka, Mlkiye and stanbul University was established in this period.
The war years were hesitation period for education like the other institutions. Budget of every institution were being transferred to war.
After the war in embarking upon the task of building a new nation , Ataturk and his Associates coceived of education as the most important foundation. In the emerging ideology of Ataturkism, education was inevitably bound up with political , economic and cultural independence and with breaking the shackles of traditional beliefs and outlooks; it was the means of creating national feelings , creating the consensus necessary to sustain a free national state training new Turkish leaders and paving the way towards a dynamic and modern society . Knowledge an science were regarded as power and as the leverage in transforming and uplifting the entire society. Ataturk made several statements on the important role assigned to education. In 1921 , he said that our national system of education should be something different from the old and something that grow out of our own nation. A national genius can only be developed through our national culture. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk placed the future of republic squarely in the hands of the schools an the younger generation ; whom he expected ever to preserve and defend the national independence of the Turkish Republic.
On the March 3 1924 ‘Tevhid-I Tedrisat Kanunu’ (law of unification of institutions) was declared. Which provided that all educational institutions are able to be placed under the control of the Ministry of Education. This eased to control the religious schools.
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk layed the foundation of Turkish Educational System by reorganizing the educational system . ( Primary school , Middle School, Lycee . Technical and vocational Schools.). In 1928 Latin alphabet had been accepted and afterwards national schools was established. Every body between ages 16 and 45 attend to these schools. Village Institutions had been established by the head of Ministry Hasan Ali Ycel but was closed by the government saying that village institutes were training communist. After the death of Atatrk development of education slow down till the military makes coup detat after 1960s by the encouragement of the military new reading and writing mobilization started and the final point reached in the educational reform is the compulsory eight year education.
Turkey entered the 21st century depending on the calendar year but the same cannot be said for education. Education is still in the 20th century. This situation is because of the problems that Turkish Education System faces. These problems can be solved by some precautions.
First of all population of Turkey is 70 million which is quiet much compared to the western countries and it is still increasing however in western countries population rates are decreasing. For example in Greece in 1986 population was 10 million and today they are still 10 million, This situation ease education in western countries . The young population is educated in good conditions and the excess budget is used for the education of adults and as a result the education the education level of the whole population increases which is an indicator of the development of a country.
Today in Turkey not every youth is going to school. The young population rate is very high besides that immigration to cities increase the demand of education which affect the quality of education.
In order to solve the problem of population the most valid method is wide spreading family planning to every part of the country. By this method there can be a decrease in the rates of population increase in Turkey. Industrialization of the provinces can be another method which can reduce the immigration rate and change the way of immigration from cities back to villages. Opening the village institutions again (which were closed in 1940s) can contribute to the industrialization of the provinces.
Secondly, Education System of Turkey is not well organized basic education (which is seen as the most important part of education by the experts )is insufficient, The type of system based on memorisation bring success for only the exam period not for his or her all life. The mass student(Which reaches millions today)waiting for entering university is another disgrace for the Turkish Education system. One other problem of education system is the limited profession education . Importance of Profession education can be seen when comparing Japan and Turkey. Both countries were in very bad conditions after the World Wars. Japan was even worse. When we compare the two countries today we see that Japan is much more developed than Turkey and controlling the electronic and automotive industries as a result of the giving importance to profession education.
In order to solve the problems of Education System a reform must be enlivened in basic education by taking reforms of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk as prototypes. The reforms must cover all the teachers and employees. Besides that new universities must be built in order to lessen the amount of mass student waiting for entering university. Expecting from the state to built universities would be merciless business man should help the state economically but the restricted budget of the government cannot be an excuse for not building universities because universities are much more necessary than bridges ,government buildings or nuclear weapons.
Thirdly, the economic crisis that paralysis every institution in Turkey makes the situation of education more difficult. Government hardly pays the salaries of teachers in addition to that expose to protests because of the low salaries. The government hardly paying salaries does not allot any budget for the restoration and improvement of the old technology with the new ones, In the east part of Turkey there are still villages in which they use materials such as maps, desks etc. which was are more than 50 years old. One other factor is the poor families which are unable to have their Child’s education because of poverty and this situation creates an unequality of education because in other hand wealthy families are sending their children to private schools and courses.
In order to solve the economical problem government should find new resources and this may happen by decreasing the budget of army, sports ministry etc.
Lastly terror is another problem that affects the quality of education most of the lecturers do not want to go to East of Turkey by saying that there is terror and they do not have the life security. In reality they are right everyday in newspapers and television programs people see tens of people dying in one day terrorists bombing schools, killing teachers.
If government is not effective on stopping the terror in the east the only solution can be making extra payments for teachers that are going east.
In conclusion Turkish Education has many problems in connection to the other problems in other institutions such as terror, population increase and economic trouble but these problems are not impossible to solve.
Bozkurt Gven Fsun Akarsu Yahya Kemal Kaya Yldz Kuzgun Salih
zbaran.(Trkiye Sosyal Ekonomik Siyasal Aratrmalar Vakf Yeni Eitim Dzeni 1976
Education In Turkey MEB Yaynlar 1944
Education system in Turkey www.bygem.com 1999
Kazamias M. Andreas Education And The Quest For Modernity In Turkey London: George Allen and Unwin LTD. 1966
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