Minister of National Education Mahmut Özer attended the monthly regular meeting of the İstanbul Chamber of Industry (İSO) which was organized under the title of "New Tendencies in Education, Importance of Paradigm Change in Vocational and Technical Education for Industry" this month."

Minister of National Education Mahmut Özer mentioned cooperation between his Ministry and the İstanbul Chamber of Industry (ISO) during the monthly regular meeting of the ISO which was organized under the title of "New Tendencies in Education, Importance of Paradigm Change in Vocational and Technical Education for Industry" this month. Minister Özer stated that the Ministry has initiated new projects in fine arts high schools and special education vocational schools adding that they undertook important investment in the welding training programs.
"With the will of Allah, there are many paths we will follow. Actually, the government and our ministry had expanded projects", said Özer.
Noting that the Ministry finalized projects not only about increasing quality of vocational education and decreasing young unemployment but also allowing high school and university graduates to enroll in vocational education institutions, Özer stated, "We will continue to plan new projects in cooperation with other ministries in order to reduce young unemployment in Turkey and use vocational education in various different dimensions in the most effective and productive way possible."
"Our mechanism works very well"
Minister Özer stated that the world is passing through an extraordinary process since last March during the pandemic that it has never experienced before.
Pointing out that different sectors adopted new approaches and different solutions in order to preserve their existence, Minister Özer explained that education was among the most affected sectors due to the pandemic and his ministry has been displaying an incredible effort to manage this process.
"At this point, it is easy to access vaccination and vaccination rate in the community is gradually increasing. There is no other solution than the scientific approach. We will get vaccinated and follow the mask, social distancing and hygiene rules. As I mentioned when I came to office on August 6, schools must be opened first and closed last," said Özer
Özer noted that national education system of the country has a large community with approximately 20 million people including students, teachers, administrative personnel and school bus staff and stressed that education has to be normalized in order to normalize life.
Stating the Ministry had developed case based approach during the pandemic, Özer reminded that his Ministry has prepared a measures guide in cooperation with the Ministry of Health.
"There are a total of 71 thousand and 320 schools, 57 thousand and 180 of them being state schools and there are 850 thousand classrooms. Face-to-face education was suspended in some classrooms for 14 days due to positive cases or having close contacts by the Ministry of Health and students enrolled in these classrooms continued their education through digital platforms for 14 days," said Özer.
Özer, went on to say: "We are in the 3rd week of the new school year. Mechanism works very well.  In the second week, less than 200 classrooms were closed due to pandemic but later this figure escalated. It is not because of failing to take measures at schools. The virus can disseminate in any place. We do not have scientific data about how the virus is disseminating. Due to this reason, rise in the number of positive cases in the community has direct relation with the rise of positive cases at schools."
"We have to keep our schools open"
Noting that his Ministry is managing the process in coordination with the Ministries of Health and Interior Affairs, Özer said, "Our advantage is that the vaccination rate among teachers. Rate of teachers who got the first dose of vaccination increased to 92 percent, who got two doses of vaccination rose to 83 percent and the rate of teachers who have antibodies against the coronavirus is 5 percent."
Özer said that positive cases are very low among students adding that, "We see that the vaccination rate of our teachers are higher than the teachers in Sweden, Finland and Germany. We are determined to keep our schools open. The future of goals of Turkey depends on the quality of human capital. If we close down schools, we will fail to achieve these goals. Due to this reason, face-to-face education is a matter of national security. We have to support our students with psychological, social, cultural and artistic activities and raise them as people who will play a role in building Turkey's future and who could assume responsibility within this context."
Pointing out that schools are the places where only especially socioeconomically students get education but also where they have the opportunity to socialize, Özer stated that schools must be kept open especially for disadvantaged groups in line with our goal to give equal opportunity in education."
"We want to design the entire process in cooperation with the employers"
"Problems in the education policy had a toll not only on the education system but also on the labor market. We are talking about decades long implementations. Our government has worked very hard in an effort to reinforce vocational education. We have established strong collaborations and produced joint projects and especially for the last three years we developed a cooperation model in cooperation with the labor market. We design the entire process in cooperation with the employers of the sector," said Minister Özer.
"Number of registered patent, brand, design and useful model registration increased to 188"
Pointing out to the remarkable performance of vocational education during the pandemic, Özer stressed, "Many countries were suffering from mask shortages. People were stealing masks from airports. This was when vocational education initiated their production capacity and produced many products varying from masks to disinfectants, from face shields to disposable aprons, from ventilators to mask machines and offered them to be used by our people under the coordination of governor's offices."
Minister Özer stated that in addition to educating qualified personnel for the labor market, vocational high schools have important production capacities. One of the most important factors in the development of the Turkish economy is the intellectual property rights. It is important to register and commercialize useful models, brands and designs. Rate of intellectual property right registration of products of vocational schools were 2.9 per year in the last decade. During the pandemic, this figure rose to 188. Our goal for this year is 250. Until now, we have registered 198 products."
"Academically successful students prefer vocational education"
Stressing that academically successful students in Turkey have started to prefer vocational education, Özer went on to say: "For the first time, students who ranked among the first hundred in the central exams wanted to enroll in the vocational education institutions instead of going to science high schools. This marks the beginning of a transformation. It reveals that problems can be solved when we join forces with the labor market. Our partner in this success is the İstanbul Chamber of Industry."
Expressing his appreciation to be the first guest of the ISO Council Meeting, Özer ended his speech by saying, "We will collaborate in order to carry vocational schools to a higher level. We can solve all problems if we join forces."

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