Middle-school graduates forced to choose Islamic, vocational high-schools

Students who have graduated from middle-school this year cannot choose ‘qualified’ high-schools unless they choose at least one Sunni Islamist vocational high-school
Tuesday, 03 July 2018 01:07

After the results of Turkey’s high-school entrance exam were announced on June 26, students now face an imposition when they choose the schools they want to go to: Students have to choose at least one Islamic imam-hatip high-school and a technical vocational high-school if they prefer to go to one of the "qualified" high-schools – if not, they won’t have the preference screen on.

Unless they prefer Islamic imam-hatip schools in one of their 5 options, they will not have the preference page on.

With the regulations brought up in recent years, imam-hatips are especially promoted by the AKP government. Last year in June, Ministry of National Education (MEB) had decreased the lower limit of an area’s population for an Islamic imam-hatip school to be found there from 50 thousand to 5 thousand while limiting the number of science high-school students who are known for their success in university entrance exams. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Turkey’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, had also stated in 2016: "We will open more religious vocational high- and middle schools."

After changing over and over in 15 years, the educational and examination system in Turkey has not settled yet. In the beginning of this academic year, another examination system was brought for entering high-schools.

Aiming to place without any exam 90% of the students to schools in the neighbourhood they live, the new system also defines 1,367 "qualified" high-schools which will receive 120,000 (approximately 10% of the) students according to their exam scores.

However, while the students are expected to apply for their school preferences between July 2 and 13, the MEB issued a guideline for applications after the exam results were announced. The guideline does not have any piece of information as to how much score the "qualified" high-schools require, thus causing indecision among students and parents about which school to choose.

Technical vocational high-schools, on the other hand, have long been seen as a source of cheap labour. These schools are organised so that they provide only vocational and technical knowledge and skills for the students, and not any core elements of natural or social sciences, thus causing the students to fail at university entrance exams, and making them “intermediate staff” as required by the market.