Turkey's national education ministry restrains coeducation

The new regulation of AKP's National Education Ministry removes the condition of coeducation of male and female students in high schools amidst criticisms
Tuesday, 11 September 2018 21:59

As the new academic year is about to begin in Turkey, Turkey's National Education Ministry released regulation that restrained coeducation in high schools, local media reported on September 11.

The new regulation removes the condition of coeducation in different types of high schools like Anatolian High Schools, Vocational and Technical Education High Schools and Vocational Education Centres. The previously existing article saying "The education in multi-program Anatolian High Schools, Vocational and Technical Education Centres and Vocational Education Centres is to be given co-ed" is removed in the new regulation. The regulation opens the door for the division of Anatolian High Schools according to sex.

The regulation received criticisms since the segregated education of male and female students has been on the agenda of the AKP government in accordance with the Islamic implementation of 'harem-selamlık' that divides men and women in social life.

The AKP government's imposition of imam-hatip schools as the basic secondary educational institution which is based on the elimination of coeducation also paved the way for a much a widespread segregated education of male and female students. 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.

Imam hatip high schools currently have the lion’s share in state’s 2018 educational budget with 550 million Turkish liras. During the rule of the AKP government, a large number of schools have been transformed into imam-hatip schools, thus forcing the students to either enrol to imam-hatips or private schools. In 61 provinces out of 81, there are more İmam hatip high schools than other high schools.


The Ministry of National Education released a statement on the criticised regulation saying "Termination of coeducation or laying a basis for such a situation is not the case as has been stipulated by some local media organs."

The statement notes that the article defining coeducation has been removed from the regulation "according to the Council of State's decision on suspension of execution dated June 27, 2018" of the related article.  The Ministry also added that the article 15 of the Basic Law on National Education says "Coeducation of male and female students at schools is fundamental. However, some schools may educate only male or female students as necessitated by the type of education, opportunities and difficulties." Therefore, the Ministry says, "there is no need to specify such a definition separately according to school types" since the basis of the regulation is clear in article 15 of the Basic Law on National Education.