Bozdağ: University prep schools to be turned into private schools

March 26, 2012, Monday/ 17:47:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Schools offering university preparation courses will either be turned into private schools or other educational institutions, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said in response to questions from the press in Uşak on Sunday.

Bozdağ discussed remarks made by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who said during his flight to Seoul on Saturday that the government would abolish university entrance examinations and university preparation courses.

In Turkey, students have to take a university entrance examination and obtain certain grades to qualify for university places. In order to prepare for this exam, most students go to private university preparation courses, for which their families pay huge amounts of money.

Speaking to the Anatolia news agency, Bozdağ said: “The government plans to turn university preparation courses into private schools or other educational institutions, such as colleges and state-run schools. The government has started to work on this plan.”

Stating that the government’s sole intention is to raise the quality of the Turkish education system, Bozdağ said children are stuck between schools and university preparation courses in the current education system and parents are struggling to shoulder the heavy economic burden of sending their children to preparatory courses.

Bozdağ said the quality of the education system should be improved, adding: “Children are unable to find enough time to play games. If we make existing schools more successful and provide better education in these schools, parents will not have to send their children to supplementary preparatory courses. Under the new measures, parents will not have to suffer the economic burden the preparatory courses represent for them.”

During his flight on Saturday, Erdoğan had said, “The university preparation courses will either serve as schools or they will be closed down, because we do not want families to spend all they have on these courses.”

This prime minister’s statement elicited reactions from the main opposition party. The Republican People’s Party (CHP) released a written statement on Sunday claiming the plan to abolish university entrance examinations and preparatory courses was originally proposed by the CHP. In the statement, the CHP said the idea was first raised by the CHP before the June 12 elections but that Erdoğan had presented the policy as if it had been proposed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party).

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