MINISTER ÖZER SHOWED TÜRKİYE'S TRANSFORMATION IN VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AS AN EXAMPLE TO OECD COUNTRIESMinister of National Education Mahmut Özer shared the transformation in the vocational education in Türkiye during the "Adapting Education to Work Life" parallel session organized as a part of OECD Education Ministers' Meeting.
Minister Özer stated that vocational education in Türkiye has an important function in the integration of adults and especially refugees to the labor market in addition to giving education to children at school age.
Reminding that Türkiye has implemented many important projects about the reinforcement of vocational education in recent years, Özer said, "Vocational education in Türkiye was carried out at vocational high schools. And there is the dual vocational education which is similar to the vocational education centers in Germany. These centers provide students the opportunity to go to school once a week and practice in a real work environment during four days a week. Most important move of our Ministry was to include the private sector in the education process in the vocational high schools. We updated the education program in cooperation with the real sector and built a new vocational education that focuses on academic knowledge and real work experience. We based our vocational education system on learning by experiencing mentality."
Özer stressed that his Ministry founded R&D centers at vocational high schools and focused on intellectual and industrial property rights adding that, "Vocational high schools registered their patents, patents, useful models and designs. They also made an important contribution to our country during the Covid-19 pandemic and produced most needed products such as masks, disinfectants, ventilators and mask machines."
Most important breaking point was the vocational education centers
Özer noted that the most important breaking point in vocational education was the dual vocation education approach adding that, "The legal amendment made in 2021 turned vocational education to an appealing mechanism for both employers and students. After the amendment in the related law, the number of apprentices and foremen enrolled in vocational education centers increased from 159 thousand to 1 million and 151 thousand within a year.
Minister Özer reminded that there is no age limit and graduation from a secondary school is enough for students to enroll in vocational education centers. Due to this reason, these centers are an important opportunity for adults who are neither in employment nor in education and training.
"At this point, we see that 55 percent of students enrolled in vocational education centers are over 18 years old. These centers played an important role in the improvement of NEET (neither in employment nor in education and training) rates in Türkiye in 2022," said Özer.
Özer stated that the number of women enrolled in dual vocational education increased by approximately 15 times within a year and the vocational education center played an important role in the integration of women in the labor market.
Özer went on to say that: "As you know, Türkiye is carrying an important load about immigrants. Since the beginning of civil war in Syria in 2011, Türkiye became the country which hosted the largest number of Syrians. There are approximately 4 million Syrians in our country and 1 million of them are at school age and they benefit from education services of Türkiye. We are using vocational education centers and vocational education as the vital instruments in the integration of adult Syrians to our labor market. We are happy to use vocational education as a very successful instrument for the inclusion of immigrants. Transformation in vocational education achieved since the last couple of years plays an important role in the reinforcement of secondary education and increasing equitability and inclusion in education. It also made an important contribution in lifting disadvantages in employment."
MINISTER ÖZER ATTENDED THE PLENARY CLOSING OF OECD EDUCATION MINISTERS' MEETING
Minister Özer attended the plenary closing of the OECD Education Ministers' Meeting in Paris where participants approved the "Declaration on Building Equitable Societies through Education."
Deputy Ministers Petek Aşkar and Sadri Şensoy and Director General for EU and Foreign Relations Hasan Ünsal accompanied Minister Özer.