President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Minister Mahmut Özer attended the collective inauguration ceremony organized for 122 newly constructed schools in İstanbul. 

A total of 122 schools whose constructions were completed between July 1, 2019 and February 15, 2022 were officially opened during a ceremony participated by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Minister of National Education Mahmut Özer.
"Total investment cost exceeded 2 billion and 140 million liras"
President Erdoğan stressed that the total investment made for the construction of schools exceeded 2 billion and 140 million liras adding: "Reinforcement of the education infrastructure in İstanbul which includes approximately 3,5 million students is among our priority issues. We have been serving with the belief that our people and our children deserve the best."
"We have taken historical steps"
President Erdoğan stated that his administrations have taken many historical steps in an effort to improve the education capacity in İstanbul.
"For example, the number of classrooms in 2002 was around 40 thousand and currently this figure has reached 129 thousand. The number of students which was 67 thousand reached 178 thousand in the city. We prioritized İstanbul in teacher appointments. Half of the newly appointed teachers started working in schools in İstanbul," said Erdoğan.
Stating that overcrowded classrooms was among the most important problems in the city, Erdoğan noted, "Thanks to Almighty Allah, this problem is now a history. We are determined to maintain the success we achieved in İstanbul in other cities in 2022."
"The total cost of investments in İstanbul exceeds 10 billion"
Erdoğan gave brief information about 197 projects which will be implemented as a part of the "Basic Education Institutions Construction Program" and 79 projects which will be implemented by the "İstanbul State Investment Program."
"Total cost of investments in İstanbul which will be carried out by these programs and construction of 1,000 new kindergartens will exceed 10 billion liras," President Erdoğan said.
"We prioritized education"
"We are the believers of a faith whose first commandment is "Read" and orders education from cradle to grave," said President Erdoğan and went on to say: "Türkiye once paid the bill for failing to show the required sensitivity to its children when it was struggling with instability. We have prioritized education as children are our future and they should have an advantage in life," said President Erdoğan.
Reminding that since they came to power in 2002, education always got the "lion share" of the budget, Erdoğan noted that the budget allocated to education including higher education this year has reached 274 billion liras. 
"We have achieved many reforms in education"
Noting that his past governments have also achieved many reforms in education varying from increase in the number of schools, teacher per students and reaching OECD averages, President Erdoğan pointed out that Türkiye showed gradually increasing performance in international education quality indicators.
Erdoğan mentioned that they have revised eight years of uninterrupted education as 4+4+4 years and healed the wounds of the February 28 mentality.
"Text books are free"  
President Erdoğan pointed out that students have the right to choose any elective course in addition to their basic courses and elective courses such as the Quran and living languages provided the opportunity to preserve cultural heritage and its transfer to younger generations.
He pointed out that the past and present governments he headed distributed 4 billion textbooks for free in the last 19 years.
"Türkiye has an important population advantage"
Noting that the aging population is a fundamental problem in many developed countries and 22 percent of world population will be over 60 in 2050, Erdoğan said that aging European countries will face many serious problems in the future.
"Türkiye has an important population advantage. We have a young and dynamic population which will allow us to shape the future," stated Erdoğan.
"We will achieve our goals sooner if we join forces"
President Erdoğan said that Türkiye is proud of its scientists, artists and pundits who represent the nation in the international arena and they focus on raising good citizens as a part of their education.
"Families, teachers, nongovernmental organizations, associations, foundations, media, universities and also municipalities have responsibility in education. It is obvious that we will achieve our goals in education sooner if we join forces. We are open to suggestions and also criticisms which will carry our education system to a higher level," President Erdoğan added.
"We have allocated the largest investment budget of our Ministry to İstanbul"
Meanwhile, Minister of National Education Mahmut Özer stressed in his speech at the ceremony that his Ministry has allocated the largest share of its investment budget to İstanbul.
He stated that the number of classrooms which was around 200 thousand has reached 855 thousand.
"There are 1.2 million teachers in our education system"
Noting that schooling rate in secondary education which was 44 percent in the 2000s has reached 90 percent recently, Minister Özer said, "The net schooling rate in higher education increased from 14 percent to 45 percent. We have achieved the best improvement in preschool education. As of today, the schooling rate in preschool education among the 5 year old age group has reached 90 percent."
Özer stressed that the education system has been witnessing quality based growth and stated that 75 percent of the 1.2 million teachers in the country were hired in the last 19 years.

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