16 April 2014, Wednesday
Today's Zaman

Prime Minister Erdoğan promises Kurdish as elective course in schools

Read Comment
12 June 2012, Tuesday /TODAY’S ZAMAN
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on Tuesday that Kurdish will be offered as an elective language course in Turkish schools following recent reforms to the educational system. Erdoğan, as anticipated following earlier remarks in the same vein by Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay, announced that elective Kurdish language classes would be introduced to the school system, speaking at a parliamentary meeting of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) on Tuesday.

The government recently introduced changes to the education system dividing the total educational period into three consecutive stages of four years each, formulated as “4+4+4.”

The prime minister said at any school with the minimum number of students to run a class Kurdish will be offered as an elective course. He also emphasized that, depending on the demand and need, other languages of Turkey can be taught at public and private schools across the country under the new system. Elective courses to be introduced under the new system will include, in addition to language classes, courses designed to improve writing, communication and presentation skills.

Erdoğan provided details about the proposal, which the Ministry of Education is currently working on. He said the drafting process was near completion, adding that it had been created after painstaking and careful research into international education systems, particularly those of the EU countries. Erdoğan noted that the new system will also include longer class hours for students in total, with the hours allocated to subjects to change, with some seeing increases and others reductions.

“Currently Turkish is taught 11 hours a week in the first three years of school, then for six hours in the fourth and fifth grade, and five hours in the seventh and eighth grades. Now Turkish classes will be taught for 19 hours a week in the first two years, then eight hours in third and fourth grade, six hours a week in fifth and sixth grade and five hours for seventh and eighth graders,” he said.

The prime minister remarked that similar changes have been made to all compulsory classes, adding that the Human Rights, Citizenship and Democracy course will be taught as a compulsory class starting at fourth grade.

Students will also have the opportunity to select at least four elective classes after fifth grade, Erdoğan said. The Fundamental Religious Knowledge course will be offered as an elective, and students of different faiths will also be able to learn about their religions in this class. “Related subjects are already part of this class’s content for our Alevi citizens,” he noted.

In addition to compulsory language courses, elective language courses will also be offered, the prime minister said. There will be other elective courses available based on the student’s interests, covering a range of topics from science, mathematics, arts and social sciences.

Erdoğan said the introduction of elective Kurdish classes was the result of requests from Kurdish citizens, adding, “And they [the Kurdish community] should watch as a cautionary tale who will say what against this historic step taken by the AK Party.” He said supporters of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) were already criticizing the step and attempting to undermine it.

The first reaction to Erdoğan’s announcement came from Gültan Kışanak, co-chairperson of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). She said, “Everybody knows very well that basic language learning is completed by age 7 or 8. Mother language is a fundamental right. It should be used uninterruptedly with no restrictions. Nobody can employ mother tongue usage as a negotiating topic.”

The BDP wants Kurdish students to be taught all classes in Kurdish. The government accuses the BDP of supporting the PKK. The BDP denies any such links.

“Teaching a people their own language as an elective course is cruelty,” Kışanak said. “Let’s make it an elective course, let’s send them to Mr. Prime Minister and have them learn [Kurdish] as an elective course. What he is saying is, ‘Go to school, learn Turkish, become assimilated, and then learn your own language.’ This crime against humanity is being conducted at the hands of the AK Party.”

She said if a people did not have the chance to use their own language as the language of education they would not have a chance to pass it on to future generations.

Lying fool, you're not capable of doing anything right as you don't even know the meaning of basic human rights and democracy, all you know is that noone should dare criticize the perfect Sultan. You're so despicable.
I think that many people do not see the difference between Kurds in Turkey and Kurds in another country; majority of Kurds in Turkey are not in favor of the separation of the country. And there are not only Kurds but also Zazas in Turkey. As a Turkish people of Zaza origin living in East of Turkey, ...
SADAM Hussain who was a brutal dictator has given right for total education in mother tounge to Kurds in iraq in 1970s..erdogan give right to very limited education in Kurdish and expect Kurds to say great you are our new god!!!
kurdish expand When glass full it will drop water mr erdogan finally realize Kurdish is much more than what he build house for and he understood Kurds no longer want roof under some one else dirty politic
Erdogan is singing a song by the Supremes,stop in the name of love
Orhan Cucukoglu
ali kurd, "it is not enough"? Oh you mean to tell me that your invented nationalist movement is in most certainly in fact the invention of foreign imperialists after all and that there is no goal short of murdering Turkish civilians therefore making anything unable to make you happy? What a surpri...
Vehel E. Ebdulkerim, Erdogan has given so much to your phony cause that he's going to be punished at the polls for it. Prepare for a complete roll-back next election because of you kurdish terrorists and your insatiable demand for what's not yours. The "kurdish" ethnic group and kurdish nationalis...
how big desctator Erdogan is. he almost put everu single kurd in preson and now think he is giving kurds donation. education in mother lanhauge is not donation from any one in fact maney turks who come to claim benefit in Uk are givin money to study in their on mother langauge. viva kurdistan
It is not enough for kurds ,just to be allowed to read and to write their language.lets face reality, do we want peacfull estate?so give them all rights.free all political prisonres.Invest in krdish region.Turks and kurds are brothers.Do not call kurds terorist and withdraw your troops from kurdista...
Ali kurd
Good step, However it never compensated historical grievances, And I think, The great step and in one package, The parallel line (Kurdish - Turkish) of rights and duties it should be mentioned in New Constitution.
Vehel E. Ebdulkerim
Click here to read all user comments
NATIONAL  Other Titles
Nana Zeyini dies at age of 120
Erdoğan threatens judges, prosecutors in party group speech
Opposition leaders say PM turning Turkey into intelligence state
Opposition CHP leader likens Erdoğan to Hitler, Mussolini
Nearly 90 police officials purged in southeast Turkey
Nearly 280 police officers reassigned in four provinces
Twitter executives meet with Turkey's President Gül
Two officers arrested over Adana trucks released
AFAD: Number of Syrian refugees in Turkey tops 900,000
Bahçeli criticizes PM's attack on Constitutional Court
Murder suspect attempts suicide in prison
Homosexual prisoners in Turkey segregated for ‘protection': minister
AK Party politician sparks hatred against Hizmet movement
Reactions mount against ban on publication of ‘Risale-i Nur'
Prosecutor who stopped MİT trucks, two others reassigned
Ministry issues traffic tickets to 125 Gezi protesters in Çanakkale
Turkish gov't rules out May 1 rallies in İstanbul's Taksim Square
Turkish military says PKK kidnapped three workers
55 students from 30 countries captivate İzmir residents with poems of praise
HDP co-chair says MİT law only protects intelligence agency
Turkish Olympiad in Chicago held with impressive event
President's Office denies reports of Gül-Erdoğan meeting over presidential election
New paper unexpectedly shuts down, employees protest
Retirement no hindrance to good works for 12 Karabük men
Survey shows Black Sea province's people are happiest