Only one out of 10 Islamic high school graduates enters university in Turkey

Although the Turkish government uses every means available to promote Islamic imam-hatip schools, only one out of 10 imam-hatip graduates has been eligible to attend the four-year university programs in 2019
Thursday, 08 August 2019 15:22

Islamic imam-hatip high schools, which were spent hundreds of millions Turkish lira by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), have brought up rear again in the university placement examination in 2019, according to recent reports. The student occupancy rate in Turkish universities rose to 91 percent this year, while it was 76 percent in 2017. 

The reports indicate that only 36 thousand 256 of 243 thousand 380 imam-hatip high school graduates managed to get into undergraduate departments of the universities in 2019, as the success rate for Islamic high school graduates in this field decreased to 14 percent.

It is remarkable that 30 thousand 821 imam-hatip high school graduates enrolled in two-year associate degree programs, and 20 thousand 573 ones in open education faculties in this year.


As the success rate of Anatolian high schools graduates in the university entrance examination has increased by 1 percent compared to the last year, and become 30 percent, 180 thousand 988 out of 639 thousand 16 Anatolian high school graduates managed to get into undergraduate programs of universities in 2019.

Yet, the success rate of private high schools providing education in foreign languages has decreased to 36 percent, while this rate in other private high schools ─ where 164 thousand 694 students graduated ─ has dropped to 26 percent, according to the recent reports.


According to the 2019 university placement results, the highest rate of success in getting into an undergraduate program is in social sciences high schools.

While 4 thousand 561 out of 7 thousand 838 social sciences high school graduates managed to get into four-year programs of the universities, the success rate has become 58 percent.

Private science high schools follow the social sciences high schools in the success rate in the university placements with a success rate of 53 percent since 6 thousand 779 out of 12 thousand 703 private science high school graduates got into the undergraduate programs of universities in 2019.


İmam-hatip schools, which had originally been founded as vocational high schools to train ‘imams’ (the officiating priest of a mosque), had long been a matter of debate as their numbers constantly increased, excessing beyond the personnel requirement, during the AKP government.

The ruling AKP has been trying to impose Islamization of Turkey’s educational system throughout its 16-year-policy. In line with this purpose, the Ministry of National Education had significantly loosened the conditions for the foundation of imam-hatip schools in 2017, while restraining the percentage of students in science high schools within the national education system.

As a graduate of imam-hatip high school, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan himself has always been an advocate of such religious education for creating ‘‘religious, vindictive generations’’.

Therefore, imam-hatip high schools currently have the lion’s share in state’s 2019 educational budget with 460 million Turkish liras [$83,750], while there are more imam-hatip high schools than other high schools in many provinces of the country under the AKP government.