Government turns education into a puzzle board


İZMİR - AKP has been making an intense effort for years to transition to religious and nationalist education with 17 educational curriculum and 5 examination system changes. Zeliha Danyeli from Eğitim-Sen said that the government aims to make its idea permanent with the latest curriculum draft.

The Ministry of Education opened the "Turkey Century Education Model" curriculum draft for compulsory courses at all education levels to suggestions on April 26. The last draft of the AKP caused a reaction from educational organizations and was criticized as "the last step in the transition to a religious and nationalist education".
Since AKP came to power in 2002, 9 different people have been appointed as the head of the Ministry of Education. During this process, the curriculum was changed 17 times. Especially after the 4+4+4 system, religious education came to the fore in schools. The way for a religious education was paved with protocols signed with the Religious Affairs Administration and various sects-communities. Following the latest “I Am Sensitive to My Environment, I Respect My Values (ÇEDES)” protocol, imams, preachers and clergy began to provide religious education to students under the name of "values education".
In the 18th latest curriculum draft, democratic values and science-based education were completely pushed into the background. While "national and spiritual values" were centered in all textbooks, different peoples and beliefs were ignored. While there was an emphasis on "struggle" against the Armenian and Pontic massacres, education in the mother language was ignored.
According to the draft curriculum, children will be exposed to religious education starting from the 4th grade. In the new curriculum, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grades will include "Religious Culture and Ethics" course, as well as "Our Prophet's Life Lesson" and "Quran Lesson". While a total of 72 hours is determined for each course during a year, students in secondary education will be exposed to a total of 216 hours of religious education.
AKP's interventions in the field of education were not limited to this. The exam system has been changed 5 times. Before students could get used to one exam system, they were switched to another exam system. As of 2010, general high schools, known as regular high schools, were abolished. These high schools were transformed into Anatolian High Schools or vocational and technical high schools. With the 4+4+4 system introduced in 2012, there was a great increase in the number of private schools and Imam Hatip Schools. In 2012, the theory of evolution was removed from the curriculum. Jihad was added to the curriculum under the title of "basic prayers". Along with the elective courses introduced on this date, the number of religious courses, which were virtually "compulsory" elective courses, increased.
Evaluating the interventions made in the field of education during the AKP period, Education and Science Workers' Union (Eğitim-Sen) İzmir No. 2 Branch Chair Zeliha Danyeli said that the opinions of educator were not consulted in any of the changes made. Stating that AKP wants to make its own ideology vital with curriculum changes, Danyeli said: "If you want to carry out social engineering, the determining factor is education. Because AKP is aware of this, it uses education as a tool. It wants to design a society according to itself. If a change is wanted to be made in education, it must be scientific, democratic, egalitarian, secular and in the mother language. People from different cultures and beliefs live in this country. Therefore, what I have mentioned should be taken into consideration."
Stating that the government imposes "monist and religiousism" and wants to create a system based on this, "Their desire to create an education system with a monist and religious approach is the footsteps of great dangers" Danyeli warned.
Danyeli noted that with the latest curriculum, they wanted to "create a generation that is nationalist, does not think, does not question, does not criticize, and does not defend its own rights." 
Danyeli said: "We will not give up defending scientific, secular, gender-equal education in the mother language. We can protect the future of this country by raising such a generation." 
MA / Semra Turan