UNITE FOR CHILDREN-- UNICEF

A Gender Review in Education, Turkey 2003 (8)

The Learning Environment

Girls and boys enter a primary school in Southeastern Turkey under the watchful gaze of Mustafa Kemal Atatük’s bust

The number of schools is not adequate when compared to the number of children of school age. Photograph by Rana Mullan © UNICEF Turkey 2003

Infrastructure and Distance to School

How many schools are there in Turkey?



Table 1: Preschool, Primary and Secondary Schools in Turkey
Total Number of Schools1 Preschool Primary Secondary
52,616 11,314 35,168 6,134

1 Ministry of National Education (MONE), Research, Planning and Coordination Committee, 2003.

The number of schools is not adequate when compared to the number of children of school age since it was declared that the class size at basic education level should be reduced to a maximum of 30 students by the year 2000. This has yet to happen -- particularly in urban areas where two thirds of students continue to be educated in schools with double shifts.

What is the average distance that children are required to travel to attend school?

Figures are unavailable since distances to school in rural and urban areas vary. In rural areas where children usually walk to school, the maximum distance for a child to travel by her or himself is accepted as 2.5km. Children in urban areas tend to have shorter distances to travel. In accordance with Law No 4306, the State provides transport for children in rural areas who live further than 2.5km from school. A total of 661,757 students are bussed to 5,484 schools.
MONE RPC, 2003.

How would you generally describe the physical conditions of school buildings?

Fair to moderate -- it is difficult to make a generalisation in the absence of a national school mapping exercise. However, the majority of the schools in the country are in need of upgrading. School sanitation and hygiene are also areas which require more attention.

Inside the Classroom

What is the average size and teacher-pupil ratio of a class?

Primary school classes average 38.6 students (MONE Directorate General of Primary Education, 2003) and teacher-pupil ratios are 1:32 for primary schools and 1:18 for secondary schools. MONE RPC p201, 2001.

What teacher training methods are employed?

Methods are mostly teacher-centred -- however in recent years teachers have been trained in vast numbers and they are encouraged to use a wide range of other teaching methods including student empowering methodologies.

School Hygiene

Do all schools have latrines for boys and girls?

Yes -- all schools have separate latrines for boys and girls, as dictated by the standard architectural projects implemented throughout the country in public schools.
MONE, Directorate General of Primary Education, 2003.

Does the country have health-promoting schools?

Yes -- under the European Network of Health Promoting Schools project, the Ministry of Health (MOH) and MONE have started a project on improving health conditions including improving physical and psychosocial environments in schools. So far the project has been implemented in 40 day schools and 10 boarding schools.
Ministry of Health, 2003.

Is the FRESH (Focused Resources on Effective School Health) partnership active in the country?

No.

Safety and Security in Schools

Provide details on use of corporal punishment in schools, and the existence of any laws banning its practice.

Criminal Code Article 447 and the following articles and Civil Servants Law 657 regulate the acts. Although corporal punishment in schools is against the law, the practice is still common. Boys are particularly subject to physical punishment for ‘disciplinary’ purposes. However, complaints regarding the issue lead to investigation and punishment of the staff responsible.

Provide any details and sources relating to gender-based violence, harassment or discrimination in schools.

There is insufficient data or documented evidence at present.

Is violence considered to be a problematic issue in your country’s schools? Describe any initiatives to combat violence and in particular gender-based violence and harassment (including sexual violence) in schools.

No -- however, in some larger city schools, bullying can constitute a problem. The police, school administration and parent/teachers associations cooperate in severe cases where consequences could exceed the limits of school measures. Gender-based violence and harassment including sexual harassment in schools is uncommon and usually occurs in the form of verbal assault where it is dealt with by the school administration.

Continue to the ninth part of A Gender Review in Education, Turkey 2003, Learning Outcomes.

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