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New Minister, New Regulations

There is a certain way to do almost anything. There are rules to follow in every aspect of life from parks to schools to even our houses— our lives revolve around them. Rules can help uphold peace in societies and improve a community’s well-being, but is that always the case?

Many think the problem is not who the minister is but what he wants to do. We are all familiar with the fact that every new minister in Türkiye likes to change things up a bit with a new set of rules. For instance, Mahmut Özer, the former education minister, took the spot of Ziya Selçuk in August 2021. Right as he started the job, he wanted to abolish exams in primary schools to support children’s intellectual, emotional, and physical needs rather than having them focus on their grades at such a young age.

The new minister didn’t waste any time in applying his changes to the system. It looks like the biggest one will be holding a common exam in Turkish and maths. The common exams will be done in Turkish which might cause a problem for bilingual schools. Schools that teach French, German, Italian, etc. as their main education language hold most of their exams in said language. With the common exam on the agenda, educators are not sure whether they should continue only teaching in their foreign language or also start teaching in Turkish. Currently, only 9th graders will enter this common exam but over time it may vary and expand to other grades. While the exam may cause some difficulties for bilingual schools, it can be said that this is a way to impose equal education. By making everyone take the same exam and assigning numerous teachers to check it, everyone will have the same opportunity in grades.

Another rule added is the obligatory elective religion lesson. In the curriculum, there is already an obligatory religion lesson but in addition, schools have also been mandated to choose an extra one. This action is now the topic of many educators as well as students and parents. With this change, a 9th grader will take 4 hours of religion while only taking 2 hours of biology in one week.

Apart from the change of curriculum, other rules have been added such as failing the grade. Minister Tekin pointed out that any student whose average Turkish grade is under 70 will not be able to pass the class. This may cause the students to be in a more stressful mindspace about school therefore affecting their grades poorly. Minister Tekin also stated that absence amnesty has been abolished and that they will start collecting students’ phone everyday before class. Having their phones taken has probably been the one change students were most concerned about. While this may be seen as unnecessary, it can also be a great way for students to socialize in recess and also turn more focus towards their classes.

The uncertainty in the education system is now the concern of many. It causes students to stress more about their future since the exams are going to affect a big part of their final grade. Most teachers and educators are trying to come up with a solution or at least an agreement on this topic but it looks like it’s no use. The minister doesn’t look like he’s going to change anything back anytime soon but we’ll keep on hoping for the best and waiting for new announcements to come.

Works Cited:

Milli Gazete, Mahmut Özer değişikliğe başladı! MEB’den ikili eğitim ve not kararı, Accessed 10 Oct. 2023.



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