The steps Turkey has taken in the education system in 20 years have been evaluated in a comprehensive report by the OECD.
The report, titled “Taking Stock of Education Reforms for Access and Quality in Turkey”, is the OECD’s https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/education/taking-stock-of-education-reforms-for-access-and- Published at quality-in-turkiye_5ea7657e-en.
Evaluations in the report were gathered under the headings of “participation in education”, “equal opportunity in education”, “quality and performance of the education system”.
In the last part of the report, which drew attention to the fact that Turkey achieved significant success in all areas examined and greatly increased its performance, suggestions were made for the continuation of improvement.
Significant increase in participation in education
According to the first part of the report, which examines the change in the rate of participation in education at different age levels in Turkey over time, Turkey’s enrollment rate of 99 percent for the 5-14 age group was above the OECD average of approximately 98 percent. remained below the OECD average.
The report emphasized the increase in the schooling rates of children aged 3-5 in Turkey since 2014. In order to increase these rates, attention was drawn to the contribution of 6,000 new kindergarten capacity created within the scope of the Early Childhood Education Campaign launched by the Ministry of National Education (MEB) in 2022.
In the report, which states that Turkey is the country that has increased the participation of adults aged 25-34 to education the most in the last 10 years, this increase was evaluated as the results of the increase in participation in education at secondary and higher education levels in Turkey.
High resistance to global crises
In the report, it was noted that despite the global economic crisis in 2008, participation in education in Turkey increased more than the OECD average in the 15-29 age group, and after the Kovid-19 epidemic, it quickly returned to the pre-epidemic period.
It was emphasized that while OECD’s average youth employment rates decreased after the 2008 crisis, the rate in Turkey started to rise again in 2010, and the decrease in youth employment in Turkey during the Kovid-19 period was less than the OECD average.
In the report, it was stated that Turkey showed an important will to maintain its education participation and employment rates in times of global crisis.
Support for participation in education and success
The steps taken by Turkey to increase participation in education and the success of students were also included in the report.
Conditional Education Assistance (CEI) which includes financial support provided to students through Early Childhood Education Mobilization, 1000 Schools Project in Vocational Education, Support and Training Courses (DYK) and Primary School Improvement Program (IYEP) and in 2022 to support the participation of disadvantaged students in early childhood education. The contributions of the economic support program initiated were listed in the report.
Supporting the professional development of teachers
In the report, the importance of teacher quality for the development of students was emphasized and the in-service training activities organized by the Ministry of National Education and the Teaching Profession Law were mentioned. It was emphasized that the Teaching Profession Law made the teaching profession a career path and made significant improvements in personal rights.
It was stated that with the contribution of these two important steps, the average training hours per teacher increased from 39 hours to 250.1 hours in a short time, and the rate of teachers participating in professional development activities increased significantly.
In the report, it was pointed out that the reflection of the increase in quantity should also be monitored.
Transformation in vocational secondary education
Vocational training was one of the areas that drew the most attention in the report, along with many projects and legal regulations. Examples of the contribution of vocational training to some productions needed by Turkey during the Kovid-19 outbreak were given, and the increasing production capacity was emphasized.
It was stated that the capacity of apprenticeship training has increased for both secondary school students and adults with the support in recent years and the Vocational Education Law.
The contribution of 55 R&D centers opened in different parts of Turkey and in occupational fields to innovative production in vocational education was emphasized. It was stated that a great increase was achieved in the number of intellectual property products with the contribution of these centers.
Rise in education spending
In the report, although Turkey is still below the OECD average, it has been shown among the countries that have increased their investments in education the most in the last 10 years. It was also stated that in 2022, a direct budget was sent to all schools for the first time and this exceeded 7 billion liras.
It was stated in the report that there was a significant decrease in the number of students per teacher with education investments, and that it approached the OECD average at all education levels.
Increase in the performance of the education system
In the report, Turkey’s performance in the PISA survey over the years was discussed in detail. It was emphasized that although the OECD average has not yet been reached in reading skills, mathematics and science literacy, Turkey’s performance continues to increase.
In the report, which stated that similar performance increases occurred at both the fourth and eighth grade levels in the TIMSS application, it was noted that Turkey achieved its highest performance in the last PISA application in 2018, and that it also managed to increase access to education in this process.
While the OECD evaluated the increase in performance positively, it included in the report that the difference in achievement between students and schools in Turkey is still relatively high.
Areas of improvement and recommended steps
Following its assessments, the OECD made several recommendations to further the educational transformation in Turkey.
These included giving more role to local stakeholders in education decisions in Turkey, reducing the practice of creating classes according to the performance seen in schools, increasing schooling at the age of 5 to a similar level at the age of 3 and 4, increasing the completion rates of formal secondary education, and enriching digital education opportunities.
Detailed initial analysis of education reforms
In his evaluation of the OECD report, Minister of National Education Mahmut Özer said that the report is important as it is the first to make a detailed analysis of education reforms in Turkey in terms of quality and accessibility.
Stating that huge projects have been implemented in Turkey, especially in the last 20 years, within the scope of increasing equal opportunities in education, Özer reminded that they have made policy changes in recent years to increase access to pre-school education.
Özer, in his assessment of the fact that the schooling rates for the 5-14 age group in Turkey are above the OECD average, noted that Turkey’s success in education has become visible in the international arena with the inclusive and accessible policies implemented in the field of education. Özer said, “We aim for Turkey to become a country that plays a leading role in education among OECD countries, with policies that take into account quality and inclusiveness.” said.
Efforts were made to ensure that not a single student was left out of the system.
Evaluating the OECD’s finding that Turkey is the country that has increased the participation of adults aged 25-34 to education the most in the last 10 years, Özer emphasized that this increase is a result of increasing participation in education at the high school and higher education level in Turkey.
Pointing out that with the early warning and follow-up system established to increase schooling rates, they have made great efforts to ensure that not even a single student is left out of the system in education, Özer said, “We have exceeded our goal of reaching 99 percent from 95 percent in secondary education. Enrollment rates at all levels of education are 99 percent. Our schooling rates have reached 99.9 percent at the age of 5 in pre-school, 99.5 percent in primary school, and 99.1 percent in secondary and high school.” gave the information.
Minister Özer stated that they have carried out a comprehensive transformation in which adult education is provided in the last year, and that 12 million 242 thousand 46 citizens have been reached in a short time like one year. Stating that the contents of the digital platform will be constantly enriched with the Public Education Centers Informatics Network (HEMBA), Özer said that this platform will serve the citizens of the Republic of Turkey around the world.
Stating that they aim to benefit approximately 2.5 million families from the “Family School” project this year, Özer stated that with the Village Life Center Project, they have implemented a structure in which families also receive continuous education from the mechanism where only children receive education.
Stating that they have also implemented new digital platforms to provide students and adults with access to education, Özer added that they are working to build a much more egalitarian and more inclusive education system by developing these opportunities and supporting not only the children at school but also their parents with very different policies.