The directorate is planning to add what it believes will be character-building activities to the curriculum. Students will be able to spend their after-school leisure time learning such traditional handcrafts as embroidery, paper marbling, ceramics, carpet making, knitting, illumination and calligraphy. By providing these courses, the directorate hopes to get students interested in traditional crafts, but another aim is to help dispel the increasing atmosphere of violence in schools, said the deputy director of the İstanbul Provincial Education Directorate, Şerafettin Turan, speaking to Today's Zaman. Master artists in traditional craft disciplines will be invited to help plan the project, and then courses will be opened to interested students after school.
Turan told Today's Zaman that this project will not only help improve student character but will also present an opportunity to revive these handcrafts, Turkish traditions that are somewhat neglected these days. He added that the biggest problem in İstanbul's schools is students' increasing tendency to become involved in violence. He hopes that directing the students to art activities will decrease the rate of violence in schools. Turan says he has seen this work before: When students became involved in painting, literature, music and theater activities as part of İstanbul's year as a European Capital of Culture in 2010, parents and teachers were attending arts activities together with students and the rate of violence in schools decreased somewhat. Turan believes the new initiative to revive traditional crafts will be beneficial to İstanbul's schools in the same way.