Turkey’s Limping Schools

dinkshot.jpgAfter the Hrant Dink assassination, there’s been a nationalist backlash in Turkey, the white hat worn by the assassin of the Turkish Armenian editor has become in vogue among youngsters, and even the Economist is pointing out the escalation.

A recent Reuters article (that surfaced in the Kuwait Times & The Brunei Times–but no major Western newspaper I could find) points out that the country’s schools could be at fault:

“Happy is he who says he is a Turk,” pipe hundreds of uniformed children in unison, lined up in the playground before a golden statue of Turkey’s revered father Ataturk, for a daily pledge of hard work and sacrifice.

Textbooks are peppered with the sayings of Kemal Ataturk, who founded modern Turkey in 1923 after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. “Homeland we are all a sacrifice for you!” comes particularly recommended by one textbook’s authors. These are just some of the features of Turkey’s education system that reformist teachers and activists want changed. They say it encourages blind nationalism-something Turkey is looking at more seriously since the ultranationalist-inspired murder in January of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.

turkeynationalism.jpgThen there is that horrible hydra of hate that Turkey refuses to confront:

…while foreign historians say Ottoman forces massacred Armenians in 1915, high school history books here say it was the other way around. “It must not be forgotten that in eastern Anatolia the Armenians carried out genocide,” one 2005-dated book reads. In its latest progress report the EU also criticised the portrayal of minorities such as Armenians, saying further work was needed to remove discriminatory language from textbooks.

And some info about the dire future Turkey may face if it doesn’t remedy its educational system:

Nationalism is not the only problem with schools in Turkey, which, hemmed in by the budget restraints of an International Monetary Fund accord, spends little on education. With a population of 74 million, Turkey already struggles to find jobs for its ever-growing army of young people. But in terms of spending per head as a proportion of the economy, Turkey spends least among OECD countries.

Turkey is also around the bottom of the OECD league in terms of years spent at school, the proportion of the population with tertiary education and the maths ability of 15-year-olds. Teachers are low-paid and spend the first years of their career in a state-assigned posting.

The original article (here).

3 responses to “Turkey’s Limping Schools”

  1. lizzy Avatar

    teachers are low paid all around the world and when it comes to nationalism tell me is it wrong to teach a child to love his country and protect it? In Atatürks time all the Arabs.greeks,armenians and other balkan nations betrayed us so we decided that it was going to be our nations own belief that would save us and it did.and really thats what your soft point is, you cant put up with the fact that we won our independence and did’nt let you set up a country in eastern Anatolia. Is it a lie that you came to Russia’s game and slaugtered our people?the same thing you did in Azarbayjani?? I really do think god has got something planned out for people like you!You would want someone noble like Atatürk for your own. our budgets are none of anyone elses buisness because its a problem every country faces, like America’s health system sucks. your talking like we dont know anything about the world system. But really your two faced aren’t you??It s ok if in America or Europe but not so ok when in Türkiye. I’m not talking about the Armenians that want to live in Anatolia as brothers but really for the ones that want blood:Stalin make space in hell

  2. Hrag Avatar

    CNN.com posted this less than an hour ago, “Turkey to block ‘insulting’ Web sites” (article)…so I guess the march to nationalistic oblivion in Turkey continues.

  3. Vazken Avatar

    Many thanks to Lizzy for providing us with such a fine and eloquent example of what emerges from the current education system in Turkey.

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