The EFA 2000 Assessment: Country Reports Homepage of the World Education Forum
Contents of country report Homepage of country reports Country reports listed alphabetically Country reports by region

Next Page


Education is the most crucial one among the factors that shape the future of individuals and societies. This strategic importance of education asserts itself even more in our day, as we are about to meet the 21st Century. Today, the development level of a society is assessed on the basis of how well the society has integrated with the world economy (globalization) and the extent to which it bears the characteristics of an information society. Due to developments in communication and transportation technologies, the world has become smaller and smaller and, consequently, individuals, communities and countries are now engaged in direct and inevitable communication and interaction with each other. Meanwhile, the information technologies have begun to have a direct and significant impact on the way of life around the world.

Individuals need to be equipped with contemporary knowledge and skills in order for them to be able to move in step with an increasingly complex society. This need in turn points to the requirement for every individual to benefit from high quality education for as long as possible. Education is an open and dynamic system in close interaction with its environment, and it succeeds only as long as it can adapt to change.

All nations of the world today agree, without a question, that high quality education is needed for development, industrialization, democratization and security for today and tomorrow.

The level of development in a country today is measured on the basis of human development indices as well as the traditional methods. New criteria are used for such measurement, including the number of people educated, resources allocated to children, and contributions to science.

All observers concur without any reservations that the 21st Century would be the "Age of Information". Today, knowledge quickly becomes obsolete, because knowledge produced today brings about dimensions beyond those of the knowledge produced yesterday. Developments in communication technology render the traditional communication channels primitive. Individuals throughout the society, pupils and parents, politicians and public servants, employers and union leaders, all are being compelled to learn quickly the new knowledge brought about by the changing conditions. No doubt, education faces the greatest challenge in this transformation. The education system is obliged to respond to the new conditions brought about by the economic, technological and structural changes, while contributing to that very process of change.

In the discussions on the work force profile for the information society, it is asserted that the new age requires people who (a) have the ability to adapt to technological advances and the changes such advances bring about, (b) have the ability to renew themselves continuously relative to advanced technologies, beginning with computer literacy, (c) have and in-depth knowledge of their occupational subjects, (e) have the competence to communicate orally and in writing in at least one foreign language, and (f) have the skills to work in an interdisciplinary mode.

In this context, we all observe that the importance of education is increasing more and more as we approach the 21st Century, because of the new technologies and the fast pace of change.

The functional emphasis of education, meanwhile, is changing and extending beyond merely rendering people literate, to raising people who have high levels of awareness, who are capable of using knowledge and technology, and who tend to be productive.

Education today is no longer under the monopoly of any social group. It is not a matter of age or age group either. As time goes by, education embraces larger proportions of the population, and longer periods of the individual’s life. In this sense, education should be viewed as a phenomenon that becomes better and better everywhere. Education is no longer merely an effort to prepare young people for life. Instead, it has become a way of life in which one is obliged to pursue an endless push for learning, a daily exercise of acquiring and updating knowledge.

As a society develops in time, it provides to its members a longer duration of basic education. In our country where significant steps are being taken in industrialization / liberalization and democratization, the question about what kind of a process the basic education process should be in order to raise young people who understand the contemporary developments and problems and produce solutions to these problems, while preserving cultural values and assuring public participation, has come to carry great importance. Equally important are the efforts for expanding pre-school education and improving the quality of education through transition to eight-year compulsory education.

Another important aspect of the contemporary approach to education is the fact that the classroom and school environment is shaped by the characteristics and the needs of the environment in which the school exists. The classroom and the school environment are viewed as an "ecosystem". The contemporary approach to education takes as the basis the interactions between pupils, teachers, administrators, the family, the environment and the society.

Effective education consists of a strong managerial leadership, an established) discipline understood and accepted by all, high expectations with regard to learning, careful and meticulous monitoring of pupils and their progress, curricula and education materials developed with the participation of teachers, parents’ participation, time allocated to academic learning, participation of the community and the education variables made available to the community. The scope is to make education an integral part of the society and deliver education with cadres raised with this approach, thus assuring interaction among the classroom, the school and the environment in which they exist.



The general objective of Turkish National Education is to raise all members of the Turkish Nation,

    1. as citizens loyal to Atatürk's reforms and principles and Atatürk nationalism manifesting itself in the Constitution; adopting, preserving and furthering the national, moral, mortal, spiritual and cultural values of Turkish nation; loving and forever striving to uphold their family, their land and their nation; aware of their responsibilities and having rendered such awareness a form of behavior for the Republic of Türkiye -- a democratic, secular, and social state of rights, founded on human rights and the fundamental principles stated in the Preamble to the Constitution,
    2. as constructive, creative and productive individuals with a physically, mentally, morally and emotionally well balanced and healthy personality and character, equipped with the capacity for free and scientific reasoning as well as an encompassing view of the world, respectful to human rights, valuing the individual and the enterprise, feeling responsible to the society,
    3. as professionals prepared for life with competencies to contribute to their own happiness and that of the society, by having them gain the necessary knowledge, skills, attitudes and team work habits through developing their interests and aptitudes,

Thereby, on one hand, furthering the welfare and happiness of Turkish citizens and the Turkish society; while, on the other hand, supporting and accelerating economic, social and cultural development in national unity, and, finally, rendering the Turkish nation a constructive, creative and distinguished partner in the contemporary civilization.


The task of realizing the Objectives of National Education on behalf of the State, along the lines of the basic principles, belongs to the Ministry of National Education.

The primary duties of the Ministry of National Education are;

    1. planning, programming, executing, monitoring and inspecting all education and training services for pupils and teachers at the institutions of education at all levels under the Ministry, for raising citizens loyal to Atatürk's reforms and principles and Atatürk nationalism manifesting itself in the Constitution; adopting, protecting and furthering the national, moral, mortal, spiritual and cultural values of Turkish nation; loving and forever striving to uphold their family, their land and their nation; aware of their responsibilities and having rendered such awareness a form of behavior in front of Republic of Türkiye -- a democratic, secular, and social state of rights, founded on human rights and the fundamental principles stated in the Preamble to the Constitution,
    2. Opening pre-school, primary education, secondary education and all other institutions of formal and non-formal education and granting permission to opening of any and all other institutions of education by the institutions and organizations of other Ministries, except for institutions of tertiary education,
    3. Organizing and executing the services related to overseas education of Turkish citizens,
    4. Determining the degrees of equivalence for the institutions of formal and non-formal education opened by the institutions and organizations of other Ministries, and jointly preparing and approving their programs and regulations, except for institutions of tertiary education,
    5. Cooperating in the matters of determining programs, regulations and education equivalence for the institutions of secondary education of the Turkish Armed Forces,
    6. Carrying out the tasks and the responsibilities charged upon the Ministry by the Tertiary Education Law for assuring the continuation of tertiary education as an integral part of the national education policy,
    7. Carrying out the services related to physical education, sports and scout training activities at the schools,
    8. Providing support for the accommodation, nutrition and financial needs of the tertiary education youth.


3.1. Atatürk's Thoughts and Opinions on Education

Atatürk's Reforms and Principles constitute the Turkish National Education Policy and the basic principles of education.

The principles of Atatürk concerning is as stated below. Education shall be;

  1. National,
  2. Republican,
  3. Secular,
  4. Scientific.
  5. Universal and equal,
  6. Functional and contemporary.

3.2. The Constitution of Republic of Türkiye

The salient points of the State's duties relative to education have been specified in Articles 10, 24, 42, 62, 130, 131, and 132 of the Constitution of Republic of Türkiye.

Equality before the Law

Article 10- "All shall be equal before the law without any discrimination on the basis of language, race, color, gender, political opinion, philosophical conviction, religion, sect or any similar discrimination. No privileges shall be granted to any person, family, group or class..."

Liberty of Religion and Conviction

Article 24- "Everyone has the liberty of conscience, religious belief and conviction. ... Education and instruction in religion and ethics shall be conducted under State supervision and control. Instruction in religious culture and moral education shall be compulsory in the curricula of primary and secondary schools. Other religious education and instruction shall be subject to the individual's own desire, and in the case of minors, to the request of their legal representatives. ..."

The Right to and Duty for Training and Education

Article 42- No one shall be deprived of the right of training and education. The scope of the right to education shall be defined and regulated by law. Training and education shall be conducted along the lines of the principles and reforms of Atatürk, on the basis of contemporary science and educational methods, under the supervision and control of the State. Institutions of training and education contravening these provisions shall not be established. The freedom of training and education does not relieve the individual from loyalty to the Constitution.

Primary education is compulsory for all citizens of both sexes and is free of charge at State schools.

The principles governing the functioning of private primary and secondary schools shall be regulated by law in keeping with the standards set for State schools.

The State shall provide scholarships and other means of assistance to enable pupils of merit lacking financial means to continue their education. The State shall take necessary measures to rehabilitate those in need of special training so as to render such people useful to society.

Training, education, research, and study are the only activities that shall be pursued at institutions of training and education. These activities can not be obstructed in any way.

No language other than Turkish shall be taught as a mother tongue to Turkish citizens at any institutions of training or education. Foreign languages to be taught in institutions of training and education and the rules to be followed by schools conducting training and education in a foreign language shall be determined by law. The provisions of international treaties are reserved.

Turkish Nationals Working Abroad

Article 62- The State shall take the necessary measures to ensure the family unity, the education of the children, the cultural needs, and the social security of Turkish nationals working abroad, and shall take the necessary measures to safeguard their ties with their homelands and to help them when they are back home.

Institutions of Tertiary Education

Article 130 - "For the purpose of training manpower under a system of contemporary education and training principles and meeting the needs of the nation and the country, universities are established established by the State and by law. The universities with public corporations and scientific autonomy, are comprised of several units assigned to educate, train at different levels after secondary education, and conduct research, to act as consultants, to issue publications and to serve the country and humanity..."

3.3. Legislation Governing Education and Instruction

Education Integrity Law

Radical re-organization was carried out in the field of education through the Education Integrity Law of March 3rd, 1924. In particular, integrity of instruction was ensured by rendering all schools subordinate to Ministry of National Education. The following are the Articles of this Law:

Article 1- All institutions of education and training within Türkiye shall be subordinate to Ministry of National Education.

Article 2- All schools administered by the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Foundations or private foundations have been transferred and rendered subordinate to Ministry of National Education.

Article 3- The budget allocations for the schools under the budgets of the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Foundations shall be transferred to the budget of the Ministry of National Education.

Article 4- The Ministry of National Education shall establish a Faculty of Theology at the university for raising Higher Specialists of Religion and open separate schools for raising officials who shall be in charge of religious services as imam and vaiz (preacher).

Article 5- As of the date of publication of this Law, the military secondary schools and high schools under the Ministry of National Defense and the Orphans’ Home under the Ministry of Health have been rendered subordinate, along with their budgets and faculty, to the Ministry of National Education. The form of association of the faculty at the aforementioned military secondary schools and high schools shall be exchanged and arranged between the Ministries to which they shall belong, while the teachers who are members of the army shall maintain their relationships with the army until then.

Article 6- This Law shall become effective on the date of its publication.

Article 7- The Council of Minister shall be in charge of executing this Law.

National Education Principle Law No: 1739

The objectives and principles that are fundamental to organization of the Turkish National Education, the general structure of the education system, the profession of teaching, the school buildings and facilities, training equipment and materials, the duties and the responsibilities of the State in education and training, are laid down in the Basic Education Law in a systematic, integrated manner.

Primary Education and Training Law No:222

Primary Education and Training Law No:222 organizes primary education in our country in a systematic, integrated manner. The institutions of primary education, land and parcel business of the schools, construction and equipment of schools, revenues, expenditures and planning services for primary education are laid down in this Law.

Law No: 4306

Law No: 4306 (Law No:4306 on the modifications of the Basic Education Law No.1739, the Primary Education and Training Law No: 222, the Apprenticeship and Non-formal Training Law No: 3308, the Law No: 3797 on the Organization and the Duties of the Ministry of National Education, Law No: 3418 and dated March 24, 1988 and Collection of Education Support Charges on some Transactions, has become effective upon publication in the Official Gazette no:23084 on August 18, 1997. In accordance with this Law, transition is made to eight year continuous compulsory education starting with the 1997-1998 academic year.

The following actions were assured through this Law (No:4306):

* The institutions of primary education shall consist of eight-year schools, these schools shall offer continuous education, and the graduates of these schools shall be awarded primary education diplomas.

* The terms "primary school" and the "secondary school", as cited separately or together in Law No: 222, 2739 and 3308 shall be replaced by the term "primary education school".

* The pupils continuing the sixth, seventh or eighth years of primary education at institutions of secondary education and the pupils who are attending the apprenticeship training centers shall complete primary education at their respective institutions. However, no new pupils shall be admitted to these institutions beginning with academic year 1997-1998.

* The pupils who have successfully completed the preparatory classes of thee schools where instruction in some courses is given in a foreign language, as well as those pupils who had the right to attend these programs in the academic year 1997-1998, shall complete their compulsory education at these schools.

* The national education system shall be organized in such a manner as to realize guidance of pupils in line with all aspects of their interests and aptitudes, and, for this purpose, provision that are compatible with the targets of their education programs shall be made for possible addition of preparatory classes to the secondary education institutions.

* Counseling services shall undertake necessary work to provide introductory information to pupils, during the second half of their last year in primary education, about the occupations that various secondary education schools and programs may lead to, as well as the standard of living and working conditions that these occupations offer, in order to help the pupils make the right decisions in choosing an occupation.

* Provision shall be made for those who have completed the primary education school to be trained at enterprises as candidate apprentices until the period of apprenticeship. One shall have to be fourteen and must have completed primary education in order to be an apprentice.

* Contribution fees to education shall be collected from some commercial transactions between September 1st, 1999 and December 31st, 2000, to be used in continuous primary education expenditures.

Apprenticeship and Vocational Training Law No: 3308

The Apprenticeship and Vocational Training Law No: 3308 of June 5th, 1986 was enacted in order to overcome the problems of employment, equipment and finance in formal vocational and technical education and non-formal vocational training.

With the "Apprenticeship and Vocational Training Law" No: 3308, enacted to develop vocational and technical education system in a way compatible with the conditions of our country, innovations that can be qualified as reforms have been introduced, establishing a system in which our pupils can complete their vocational education though cooperation between school and industry.

In accordance with this Law, the pupils take their theoretical education at the schools two days a week and receive application training at enterprises three days a week. Enterprises pay the pupils who receive skills training, a wage at the rate of 30 percent of the minimum wage. The pupils are also insured , by financial means of our Ministry.

3.4. Government Programs

Policies and strategies that concern national education are determined and executed through the Government Programs, within the framework of Atatürk’s Thoughts and Opinions Concerning Education, the Constitution of Republic of Türkiye, and the Laws Governing Education and Training.

3.5. Development Plans

The country’s manpower needs, manpower and employment relations, resources allocated to formal and non-formal education and training, allocation of resources and the measures for improving the quality of education and training are laid out in the five-year development plans. The measures specified therein are then implemented through cooperation among the related institutions and organizations under coordination of State Planning Organization.


In accordance with The National Education Principle Law No: 1739, the Turkish National Education System consists of two main parts, namely, "Formal Education" and "Non-formal Education".

4.1. Formal Education:

Formal education represents the school system. The school system of Turkish National Education consists of four levels:

    1. Pre-school Education.
    2. Primary Education.
    3. Secondary Education.
    4. Tertiary education.

4.2. Non-formal Education:

Non-formal Education covers the education-training system that provides an occupation opportunity to those citizens who had never taken formal education, or are at any level of formal education or have left formal education.

Contents Next Page