MINISTER TEKİN EVALUATES THE EDUCATION AGENDA ON 24 TV BEFORE THE FIRST SCHOOL BELLMinister of National Education Yusuf Tekin made statements regarding the education agenda in the "Arafta Sorular" program on 24 TV.
Answering Esra Elönü's questions in the "Questions in Limbo/ Arafta Sorular" program, Minister of National Education Yusuf Tekin explained the reason for the changes they made in the legislation since June. Adding that they had planned these regulations while working at the Ministry, Minister Tekin underlined that some of these regulations were related to the problems conveyed to him by teachers, administrators and academics during conversations. Minister Tekin announced that they will make serious changes and revisions on the Regulation on Basic Education next week.
Stating that they are trying to create a regulation that can maintain the nature and quality of education in Türkiye and satisfy the public's expectations regarding education and training, Tekin underlined that their main function as the Ministry is to teach Turkish to children in a healthy way.
Pointing out that one of the important issues in the newly published Regulation on Assessment and Evaluation is to measure Turkish language based on 4 skills, Minister Tekin stated that children have become deprived of the skills of expressing themselves in prose since they are constantly evaluated by tests starting from primary school until the high school. Adding that they evaluate children with tests even in university and vocational exams, the Minister expressed that they want to save children from this test pressure in primary schools and schools affiliated to the Ministry, so that they can comfortably and properly express themselves. Tekin repeated that they want the exams to be in classical written form and planned the regulations in the light of this matter.
Tekin also touched upon the issue of foreign language teaching in response to a question. Noting that all academic studies show that the main condition for healthy learning and education of the foreign language is to keep a child's native language skills at a certain competency, Tekin underlined that his goal as the Minister is to teach Turkish before teaching a foreign language.
"We insist on grade repetition."
Explaining the change in the regulation on secondary education institutions, Minister Tekin once again underlined that they are insistent on absenteeism and grade repetition and said that there will be no amnesty on this matter.
Answering the question about the difficulty of transition to open high school, Minister Tekin said that their duty as the Ministry is to implement the 12-year compulsory education process. Stating that open high school structures are a tool for non-formal education, Minister Tekin drew attention to the necessity of a mechanism in which people who could not or have not completed 12 years of compulsory education for various reasons and people who are older can continue and receive a secondary education diploma. Stating that the transition to open high schools has now become a common situation among secondary school students, Minister Tekin said that in this way, students assume that they have already passed their classes and are thinking they are preparing for university through illegal or unregistered courses.
"In terms of combating digital addiction, we are disturbed by the fact that our children are too busy with their mobile phones."
Explaining that they are waging a serious fight against illegal or unregistered structures that operate without permission, Tekin also clarified the issue of prohibition of mobile phones. Expressing that they are all disturbed by the fact that children are too busy with their mobile phones in terms of the motivation of the education process, the distraction of their interests, and the fight against digital addiction, Minister Tekin noted that the issue also has a legal dimension and reminded that there are also discussions about the privacy of images taken with mobile phones and personal data. Stating that they think it would be right to make such a decision, Tekin stressed that they want teachers to avoid homework and information processes that will encourage children to use social media and mobile phones.
Fight against FETO
Touching on the fight against FETO, Minister Tekin stated that he had been participating in non-governmental organizations as a listener and speaker since the early 80s, and saw the FETO structure for the first time when he started studying at Ankara University, the Faculty of Political Sciences in 1989. Explaining the struggle he has been waging against these groups since those years, Minister Tekin said that while they were protesting undemocratic practices during their student years, they could not see these people stand by them. Stating that these people were talking about the Islamic struggle in Türkiye at that time, Minister Tekin underlined that they were actually trying to create an Americanist Islam with the discourse of that time. Minister Tekin said that because they thought that these people were in an approach that would colonize Türkiye, they had been in a constant war with these groups since then.
Explaining that people belonging to this structure received academic positions in the February 28 environment, Tekin reminded Fethullah Gülen's statement on television at a time, when the coefficient application was lifted and imam hatip secondary schools were closed, saying that they could put their schools under the command of the will if needed. Reminding that Fethullah Gülen also used similar rhetoric during the September 12 period and that those who carried out the coup had statements that their actions were legitimate, Minister Tekin emphasized that these statements provided information about FETO. Stating that this structure suddenly grew with February 28, Minister Tekin said that it is an organized structure that uses its decisions regarding imam-hatip secondary schools, vocational high schools and coefficient application to increase the share of FETO they get from the cake. Minister Tekin claimed that the Fethullahists had the will of February 28 under the conditions of that time, because FETO schools were not closed on February 28 and the members/ followers of FETO did not face any kind of victimization.
Explaining that FETO is a structure that they fight against on ideological and moral grounds, Tekin noted that after he was appointed as undersecretary, members of this structure started to noise around that the government would close private teaching institutions, even when there were not any preparations on that matter.
Speaking about his thoughts about the education system in Türkiye, Minister Tekin said that the private teaching institutions were a tutelage mechanism over the education system under the conditions of that time. Minister Tekin said that the 12 years of effort the state spent in building schools, employing teachers, and distributing books by allocating millions of liras of resources were wasted by the private teaching institution where the student attended for a short period of 3 months, with the perception that he/she won the university through the private teaching institutions. Commenting on the transformation of private teaching institutions in June 2013, Minister Tekin said that the private teaching institutions at that time were a tutelage mechanism over the education and training process and that a decision should be taken regarding the private teaching institutions in order to make the policy implemented in schools sound and to make the teachers' efforts appreciated by the public opinion. Tekin explained that at that time, upon the instructions of the President, they started a legal process regarding the transformation of private teaching institutions. Explaining that they carried out a study together with the then Minister of National Education Nabi Avcı, Minister Tekin said that they presented this study to the President at regular intervals.
Stating that the works that were only in his personal archive at that time and that he did not keep on his computer after being revised, were published in Zaman Newspaper in November 2013 with the headline "Coup Plan of Undersecretary to Education'', Tekin emphasized that they were faced with a structure that tried to intimidate people with threats and perception operations. Stating that the December 17-25 period and the July 15 coup attempt were processes conducted by FETO by planning when and how they would publish and share the data they created, Minister Tekin underlined that what happened was ultimately something that should be taken into consideration in the history of democracy of this country.
Stating that Türkiye went through a great crisis on July 15 due to this terrorist organization, Minister Tekin said that he explained clearly the process and the closure of private teaching institutions in order to avoid being faced with such attacks and such betrayals again. Minister Tekin underlined that otherwise they would not be able to take the right measures at the right time and in the right way.