Education System in Turkey


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Education System in Turkey

Turkey’s education system is composed of two parts; formal education and mass education. Preschool, elementary education, secondary education, and higher education form the basis of formal education. Mass education on the other hand is seperated from the formal education and includes national education centers, apprentice training centers, open universities, and county colleges.

From the age of six to the age of fourteen every Turkish citizen is obliged to attend school. The duration of compulsory education was expanded from five to eight years in 1997. The education curriculum comprises five years of primary education, three years of  junior high school (still considered primary education in the Turkish system), four years of high school (secondary education), which might last one year longer if the school has a preparation class,  and four years of universty. After finishing five years in primary school, a primary school diploma is awarded and the junior high school diploma is awarded at the end of the three-year junior high school education.

The primary education includes courses of Turkish language and literature, mathematics, social studies, science, civics and human rights, the history of the Turkish Republic and Atatürk's reforms, a foreign language (English, French or German), individual and group activities, religious culture and ethics, art/handicraft, music, physical education, traffic safety and first aid, career guidance, and elective courses. In primary schools, students are graded out of five. Five is the highest grade, and one is the lowest grade. The exams and homeworks are graded over a hundred. For instance two corresponds to fourty-five percent which means you pass, but if you get fourty-four or lower, it corresponds to one, and you fail.

The secondary education system includes General High Schools, and Vocational and Technical High Schools. From 2005-2006 on the duration of secondary education has been increased from three to four years.

At the end of high school which corresponds to finishing the 12th grade, students take the National University Entrance Examination (OSS) if they want to continue their studies at a two-year vocational higher education, open/distance education programs or a four-year undergraduate programme at a University. Students have unlimited possibilities to retake the test. Anybody who would like to attend university can take this test, it does not matter at what stage in life they are (provided of course they have graduated from high school). Students in high schools where the general program is applied may choose to attend branches which specialize in the natural sciences, literature and mathematics, the social sciences, foreign languages, art or physical education. Those students have the possibility to select a major related to their branch. If, however, they apply for a different field than their branch they lose points. Science High Schools though only offer the science branch.

There are a total number of sixty universities excluding private universities. Students want to study in reputable departments at reputable universities to succeed in the future. That is why they start studying for the entrance exams as much as two years in advance, usually taking up private tutoring as well. But only 1/3 of the students can continue on to a state university of their choice. The others go to private universities, provided they can afford it, or start working, or wait one year to retake the exam, some attend the military service.



Non-university level post-secondary studies (technical/vocational type): There are no non-university level post-secondary studies in the Turkish higher education system. Higher technical and vocational post-secondary studies last for four years in higher schools and for two years in vocational higher schools affiliated to the universities. They offer vocational training in various professions and confer an Önlisans Diplomasi following completion of  two-year university studies and a Lisans Diplomasi on completion of four-year university studies.

University level first stage - Önlisans Diplomasi /Lisans Diplomasi: An Önlisans Derecesi or Diplomasi (Associate Degree) is awarded after the successful completion of two-year university studies. Courses leading to the Lisans Diplomasi require a minimum of four years' university study.  Courses last for  five years in Dentistry and Veterinary Medicine and for six years in Medicine. In Veterinary Medicine, the professional qualification of Veteriner Hekim Diplomasi is conferred. In Dentistry, the Dis Hekimligi Diplomasi is conferred upon the completion of five years' study. In Medicine, the professional qualification of Tip Doktorlugu Diplomasi is conferred. The graduates of Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and Dentistry can directly apply to PhD/Doctorate programmes in Turkey. The qualifications in these three fields of study are considered to be the equivalent of a Yuksek Lisans Diplomasi (Master's degree).

University level second stage - Yüksek Lisans Diplomasi/Bilim Uzmanligi Diplomasi: The Yüksek Lisans Diplomasi (Master's Degree) lasts for two years with thesis and for one-and-a-half years without thesis.

University level third stage - Doktora Diplomasi/Bilim Doktorlugu Diplomasi/Tipta Uzmanlik Belgesi/Sanatta Yeterlik Diplomasi: Candidates must hold the Yüksek Lisans Diplomasi and sit for an examination. The Doktora Diplomasi is conferred after two years' study and on completion of a doctoral thesis (a total of four years). The Tipta Uzmanlik Belgesi (specialist degree) in Medicine is conferred to recognize a physician's advanced skills and expertise. It is considered to be the equivalent of a Doktora Diplomasi.

Training of pre-primary and primary/basic school teachers: Primary school teachers are trained in universities where they must obtain a Lisans Diplomasi.

Training of secondary school teachers: Secondary school teachers are trained in universities where they must obtain a Lisans Diplomasi.

Training of higher education teachers: According to the Higher Education Law (art. 35), higher education institutions are responsible for the training of their own academic staff, both at home and abroad. There are various criteria for the promotion of teaching staff members.

Non-traditional studies: Distance education is offered at the Open Education Faculty of Anadolu University. Entry is on a competitive basis through the central national university entrance examination (ÖSS). Courses last for two or four years.
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