Turkish Education Minister İsmet Yılmaz has told an interviewer on CNNTürk that poor exam results mask the true successes of the Turkish education system.
“It is an incorrect perception that we are unsuccessful in mathematics and sciences,” Yılmaz said.
“(Someone) solved all the mathematics problems but was unable to achieve anything. (Another) could not solve a single mathematics problem but was successful in life. Which would you prefer? The things you learn should contribute to your life. Turkish education is in a very good situation.”
Under the new system, it was foreseen that almost a quarter of high school students would go to religious schools, Yılmaz said.
“62 percent will go to science high schools. The proportion foreseen to go to Imam Preacher schools is 23 percent,” he said.
“23 percent is not bigger than 62 percent. When the road is opened up for only 28,000 students to go to Imam Preacher schools by exam, is everyone going to Imam Preacher schools? Let’s say ‘stop exaggerating’. (The criticism that students are being routed towards religious schools) has no ties to reality. We are not forcing anyone to do anything.”
The new high school placement system, in which most students will be sent to the nearest schools to their homes rather than being placed in schools they choose according to their exam results, was undermining the caste system in Turkish education, Yılmaz said.
“Under the present system you look out of your window and see a school, but you cannot send your children there. There was a caste system in education. In that case you were placing an extra burden on families and students,” he said.
“Whatever you do, there are criticisms relating to education. Education cannot happen without criticism. (But) those whose own children do not fall into the 10 percent band (who achieve special school places) will see that their children do not lose anything. All of our children are valuable.”