As the quotas in Islamic imam hatip high schools remained empty for not being preferred by students after the results of the high school entrance examination and many students could not enrol in any high schools. Educational workers from the Communist Party of Turkey issued a statement regarding this controversy, saying that "All Islamic imam hatip schools must be transformed."
Educational workers from the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) released a statement after thousands of quotas in Islamic vocational imam hatip high schools have remained empty following the results of the high school entrance examination. Imam Hatip high schools provide an Islamic and religion-oriented education, accompanied by the general high-school curriculum and constitute a major component of the Turkish AKP government's religious transformation of the society.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan himself is a graduate of imam-hatip and has always been an advocate of such religious education for creating "religious, vindictive generations".
"It is not religious education that people expect from high schools. Imam hatips must be transformed," educational workers from TKP noted in the statement.
As a consequence of the ruling AKP party's impositions forcing children to attend Islamic schools, more than 180,000 students could not enrol in any high schools after the results of placements due to the fact that they did not choose to have education in imam hatip schools. Given that there were around 970 thousand examinees, this means almost every 1 out of 5 children was left unenrolled in any high school.
TKP’s statement said that "The government officials responsible for education do not seem to feel worried about this result. Rubbing their hands in glee, the owners of private schools are waiting for labourers who will have to consent to debt and loan spirals in order to protect their children from imam hatip schools. That is why this social order must change in the educational system above all. Yet first, this religious-based understanding of education, which is clearly seen its rejection by the peoples of Turkey, must be abandoned."
"The picture emerged with the results of the placement system replaced by the examination of the Transition from Primary to Secondary Education (TEOG) in a night by Erdoğan’s order shows that tens of thousands of students have been victimized," educational workers said in TKP’s statement.
"This exam system had been designed in such a way to fill the quotas in Islamic imam hatip high schools which have remained vacant for years despite all incentives and directions of the Turkish government. The emergent results now show that the impositions of the AKP for promoting imam hatip schools have been rejected once again by society," reads the statement.
Imam hatip high schools currently have the lion’s share in state’s 2018 educational budget with 550 million Turkish liras. In 61 provinces out of 81, there are more İmam hatip high schools than other high schools, reflecting several ways how Imam hatip high schools are being promoted.
"According to the results of the high school placement examination published by the Ministry of National Education, only 15% of the students preferred imam hatip high schools, and 50% of these schools’ quotas remained empty. Over 100,000 students could not get into any schools they preferred to study."
Stating that the policy of Islamization and promotion of imam hatips, which have been put at the center of educational system by the AKP, also satisfy the capitalist class in Turkey, educational workers from TKP pointed out: "While the number of imam hatips increases, the number of private schools has reached to the number of public schools. Private schools are engorging themselves with the citizens trying to protect their children from Islamic schools imposed by the AKP government."
"While the citizens, who refused these reactionary impositions, have to send their children to private schools at the risk of heavy loan debts, millions of impoverished children of laborers, who cannot incur such heavy burden, will be excluded from the system, growing the child labor ─ another pillar of this system of exploitation."
TKP statement also said that "From the Turkish government’s 16-year fiction inflicting a heavy blow on educational system, what has fallen to the shares of citizens is to be a customer to private schools in the hope of providing their children with a high-quality education or to resign themselves to the Turkish government’s impositions to promote Islamic imam hatips."
"The sole remedy of this desperation that confines people between these two unacceptable options is to shut down all imam hatip schools and to transform them into the schools giving high-quality, scientific and public education," the statement released by the educational workers from TKP concluded.