The 20th National Education Council convened in Ankara with all its stakeholders. The opening ceremony of the council was held at the Presidential Complex with the participation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The 20th National Education Council convened in Ankara to open new horizons depending on the developments in the world and in Turkey, and to take recommendations for the Turkish national education system.
The opening ceremony of the 7th National Education Council, which was held after a 20-year hiatus, was held at the Presidential Complex with the participation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Expressing his gratitude to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for participating in the opening by taking the 20th National Education Council under his auspices, Minister of National Education Mahmut Özer stated that developments in the world made it necessary to evaluate the current conditions of education systems.
Expressing that they decided to hold the twentieth National Education Council in order to guide education policies, Minister Özer said:
“An education system is successful, functional and democratic to the extent that it meets social needs and demands. If societal demands are ignored or, worse, suppressed, we can only talk about an oppressive education system. Unfortunately, our country has often faced these oppressive educational regulations in the past. The basis of many of the problems we are trying to overcome in our education system today lies in the oppressive education policies that are far from the social demands of the past. Especially in the late 1990s, we witnessed the harshest and most oppressive educational interventions in the history of the republic. These policies, which are far from the goal of the development of individuals and society, and try to shape the society by excluding our national and spiritual values, have caused our education system to stand still rather than move it forward, and have produced chronic problems.
Özer noted that the biggest struggle in the field of education for 20 years has been to move Turkey forward by overcoming these chronic problems.
Referring to the education law known as 4+4+4, Özer said:
“Thanks to the education law known as 2012+4+4, which was enacted in 4, imam hatip secondary schools were reopened in line with social demand, optional religious education courses were introduced, and more of our children were provided with the opportunity to benefit from education, the compulsory education period of which will be increased from 8 to 12 years. In this context, while the schooling rate in secondary education was 2000 percent in 44, it has reached 88 percent as of today. In summary, our education system has become more democratic and more inclusive. On this occasion, I would like to once again express my gratitude to our President, who has a leading role in making the education system in Turkey more democratic and reflects our nation's sensitivities to education policies despite all the pressures of the tutelage centers.”
Stating that education has become universal thanks to the policies they have adopted regarding the spread of education throughout the society in Turkey, Özer continued his words as follows:
“The real spread of education to all segments of the public in Turkey has mainly taken place in the last 20 years. The investments made with the massification in education were not concentrated in only one region of Turkey, but were realized in a way to cover all regions. It is especially worth emphasizing that the segment that benefits most from the massification phase in education is the relatively more disadvantaged segment of the society in terms of socioeconomic status. In addition, if I have to underline the following point, there has not been a decrease in the quality of education, as claimed, with the massification. Important international education researches such as PISA and TIMSS show that the success of our education system is constantly increasing. At the point reached today, our children and youth in every corner of our country have had the opportunity to access all levels of education, from pre-school to higher education. While the schooling rate in higher education was around 2000 percent in 14, it has reached 44 percent today.”
Emphasizing that the main theme of the 20th National Education Council was “Equal Opportunity in Education”, Özer said:
“Our duty is to ensure that each of our children can benefit from education opportunities equally and fairly so that they can realize their own potential and become a productive individual. We must ensure equality of opportunity in education so strongly that our children's social, economic and cultural differences out of school; do not directly shape their educational process and future. We must ensure equality of opportunity in education so strongly that the socio-economic background of their families does not cause injustice in the education process of our children. While we were moving towards this goal, we wanted to include Turkey's common mind and common horizon in our decision-making process. For this purpose, we have determined the main theme of the 20th National Education Council to be "Equal Opportunity in Education".
Stating that their aim is to increase the quality of education and to ensure that every child has access to quality education, after significant improvements in education and huge infrastructure investments, Özer said:
“It has become even more critical for us to get the opinions of our stakeholders on an issue that the whole world has discussed and taken important steps on, such as equality of opportunity in education, especially during this epidemic process we are experiencing. There is a great race between countries in the global competitive environment. Countries do not only compete economically, they are also in constant competition in terms of education systems. Almost every country makes great efforts to improve the education system and allocates huge budgets. The main reason for this is that the investment made in education is the most important investment in the future in the development of the country in all aspects. Research shows that vocational and technical education has a strategic importance both in providing the skills needed by the labor market and in reducing youth unemployment. In this context, our priority is to further improve the vocational and technical education, which has been exhausted by the injustice of the coefficient application, which came into force in 1999 and has been in effect for more than 10 years, and to make the education, production and employment cycle stronger. In this context, we see vocational and technical education as a strategic issue for Turkey's future and want it to be discussed comprehensively at the council.”
Emphasizing that the most important factor in the research that will increase the quality of education is teachers, Özer said that the third agenda they wanted to be discussed and developed at the council was "Professional Development of Teachers", and noted that every investment to be made in teachers would directly affect the success of the education system.
Expressing his great pleasure that the Law on the Teaching Profession, which President Erdoğan gave the good news on November 24, Teachers' Day, will be presented to the parliament, Minister Özer wished that the council would bring benefits to the entire education community and our country.
The council meeting, which will last until December 3, will be held after the opening ceremony on the first day of the council. On the last day of the council, which will continue with the work of the special commission on the second day, the reports of the special commission will be presented to the general assembly and the recommendations will be voted on.