Minister of National Education Mahmut Özer answered questions about the recent issues of the education agenda at the Editor's Desk program.

Answering questions about the upcoming High School Entrance System set for June 5, Minister Özer said that students will enter the central exam without wearing masks after a long time.
Özer noted that 700,000 teachers will work in 81 cities and 922 districts adding that "Directorate General for Measurement, Assessment and Examination Services completed all preparations. Approximately 1 million 236 thousand 8th grade students will enter this exam." 
"Flexibility in the responsibility exams"
Minister Özer stated that 12th grade students will not fail due to absence and they will be able to all enter responsibility exams.
"Covid-19 pandemic was an unexpected crisis for all countries. Our students should not worry, they will not fail due to absence and we will provide flexibility for those who want to enter responsibility exams organized for passing classes," noted Özer.
Additional index 
Concerning 3600 additional index regulation, Minister Özer reminded that the new Teaching Profession Law includes an article concerning 3600 additional indexes.
"There are 1,2 million teaches in our education system and as well as 411,00 retired teachers approximately 60,000 teachers will benefit from the additional index," said Özer.
"Teacher appointments will continue"
"Number of teachers per student in our country is high; it is around 30 and 40. 75 percent of teachers in the education system were appointed in the last 19 years. Teachers can be at ease because teacher appointments will continue," stated Özer.
"We will continue to support İstanbul"
Özer reminded that the majority of newly appointed teachers are assigned to İstanbul adding that 50 percent of teachers who will be appointed to the Ministry will work in İstanbul.
"We will continue to support İstanbul in terms of education and school investments and reinforcement of school buildings," stated Özer.
Vocational High Schools
Minister Özer mentioned that his Ministry carried out important projects in an effort to reinforce vocational education in order to decrease success differences and provide equal opportunities in education.
These projects and the amendment in the Vocational Education Law gave results and successful students started to enroll in vocational and technical high schools.
Özer stressed that increasing the production capacity of vocational education and intellectual property rights are among the prior goals of the projects.
"Change in the student profile in the vocational education"
"Production capacity of vocational high schools increased to 1 billion and 162 million liras in 2021 and students received approximately 55 million liras of this profit. They got quality education and earned money. These developments changed the student profile in vocational education," said Özer.
"For the first time in the history of vocational education, they exported products to other countries"
Stating that R&D centers established in vocational education institutions have been carrying out innovative projects and registered many patents, brands, useful brands and designs, Minister Özer said, "Vocational education institutions are exporting their products to other countries. We also started an important transformation in the vocational education centers. The amendment in the Vocational Education Law No. 3308 has a positive impact in the improvement of these centers."
Minister Özer reminded 7 international vocational and technical Anatolia High Schools were inaugurated for Turks living abroad and related communities.
"Türkiye has solved its schooling problems"
Answering a question about the difference between the closed down village institutes and village public centers, Minister Özer reminded that 80 percent of the population was living in villages when the village institutes were inaugurated and the idea was to start an education campaign from villages.
"Türkiye has solved its schooling and education problems. But today, there is a tendency to go back to villages. We have decided to find a solution for the education of those who return their villages," said Özer.
"Today, there are 60 million books at school libraries"
Answering a question about school libraries, Özer reminded that they have initiated the "No More Schools without Libraries" campaign project which was carried out under the auspices of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's spouse Emine Erdoğan.
He noted that they have founded 16,361 libraries within two months and the number of books at school libraries reached 60 million.
"2022-2023 school year will begin on September 12, 2022 and will end on June 16, 2023"
Minister of National Education Mahmut Özer announced that, ""2022-2023 school year will begin on September 12, 2022 and will end on June 16, 2023."
Özer mentioned the environment, climate change and zero waste projects carried out by his Ministry in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change.
"We will turn all our schools into environmentally friendly structures"
"We have installed solar energy plants, rainwater collection units at selected schools. We have used compost machines in order to recycle organic waste and used them at school gardens. We have founded Zero Waste Libraries established from recycled materials at schools. We will turn all our schools into environmentally friendly structures," said Özer.  
"Midterm holidays will remain the same"  
Concerning mid-term holidays at schools, Özer announced the holiday schedule of the upcoming school year.
"Teachers continue to attend professional improvement training programs during mid-term holidays and they come to school for this reason. Our teachers are exhausted due to Covid-19 pandemic and they made an important sacrifice. We had founded a teacher information network during the pandemic. This year, teachers will attend training programs through this network without the necessity to go to school during the holiday," said Özer.  
Minister Özer reminded that face-to-face education was suspended for 1,5 years due to the pandemic and it was seen that distance education cannot replace face-to-face education.  Özer said that his Ministry kept schools open successfully during this school year.   
"We will continue to support our students at summer schools"
Özer stated that they have decided to organize support and training summer courses for all levels of education as a remedy to learning loss that occurred due to distance education.
"Today's children will build tomorrow's Türkiye. We will continue to support them with mathematics and foreing language courses that will be organized at science and arts centers this summer," said Özer.
Goal in preschool education is to reach OECD average
Noting that schooling rates in all levels of education increased in the last 19 years, Minister Özer said that they had failed to reach their goal in increasing preschool schooling rates.
"In August 2020, the schooling rate among 5 year old children was 78 percent. We set a goal to reach the OECD average in preschool education schooling rate. Within this framework, we have decided to open 3,000 new kindergartens and 40 thousand new preschool classrooms. We will increase the schooling rate among 5 year old children to 100 percent. It is crucial for providing equal opportunity in education," said Özer.
"12,000 students are enrolled in preschool education at village schools"
Minister Özer reminded that they have already inaugurated 8,500 preschool classrooms adding that;
"We have dropped the criteria to open preschool classrooms in village schools from 10 students to 5 students. 12,000 students are enrolled in these classes at village schools. 1,000 of 3,000 kindergartens will be inaugurated in İstanbul. 400,000 new students enrolled in preschool education in the last 6 months as a result of our project," said Özer.
Private school tuition fee increases
Minister Özer stated that his Ministry has set the ceiling rise rate of private school tuition fees as 36 percent and added that they closely monitor these rates.
Summer schools
Minister Özer said that students from state schools and private schools can enroll in the summer schools adding that, "We have decided to open two different classes namely science and arts in public centers. We also designed activities, summer camps and games for students."
"We will announce new projects soon"
Noting that students and teachers can apply for summer courses in other cities, Özer said that teachers who are assigned to work in different cities as a part of summer school programs will get double salary.
Minister Özer stated that they are also planning to organize sports activities at public education centers for students adding that they will announce new projects concerning summer schools and courses soon.
Özer also made statements concerning PISA and TIMSS surveys.
The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is an international assessment that measures 15-year-old students' reading, mathematics, and science literacy among OECD countries while the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) provides reliable and timely trend data on mathematics and science achievement.
Özer said that Türkiye gradually increased its grades in these two international surveys adding that our country managed to increase the quality of its education despite the increasing number of students in its huge education system.  
Measurement assessment centers  
Noting that measurement and assessment are among the most crucial instruments of education, Minister Özer said that the Ministry has founded measurement and assessment centers in all 81 cities of the country in an effort to carry out national studies similar to PISA and TIMSS surveys and for the improvement of the education system.
Centers also maintain coordination with the international surveys in addition to providing feedback to the education system.
Özer reminded that these centers also assist the Ministry in the preparation of supplementary sources for students.
"As our President announced earlier, we have distributed free 12 million supplementary sources for students who will enter LGS and YKS exams. We have decided to distribute 100 million supplementary sources for students from all levels of education until the end of this year," said Özer.
"We will share second report this week"
Concerning the 20th National Education Council, Özer went on to say that:
"Council has a crucial importance for our Ministry. Decisions of the council are advisory. We have shared the first report about the council in March and we will share the second report this week.  Approximately 60 of 128 decisions were realized including mathematics and foreign language campaigns."

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