While having spent 5 million TL (1.5 mn USD) for the car of the Speaker of the Parliament İsmail Kahraman and 1 million TL (300K USD) for the car luxurious car of the recently retired former head of the Diyanet (Presidency of Religion Affairs) Mehmet Görmez, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has chosen the budget allocated for the meals for special education students to cut from as an austerity measure.
The Ministry of National Education has sent a scandalous letter to the institutions providing special education programs. In the letter, the Ministry stated that it was ‘too costly for the lunch expenses of students to be used from state budget’ an asked for the institutions to collect donations or raise funds from private institutions, foundations, charities, etc.
The institutions were also advised to try signing contracts with local governments and other public institutions to provide the meals, in case they cannot find a private source of funding.
While demanding such contracts with local public institutions to be made for at least two semesters, the Ministry also signaled that the quality of the meals will also worsen as the maximum cost of daily lunch per student was asked to be no more than 5.50 TL (1 dollar and 50 cents).
The reasons for the new regulations were listed in the letter of the Ministry as ‘to prevent waste of state sources’; ‘to ease bureaucratic procedures’; and, ‘to ensure cooperation and unity in implementation of budget regulations’.
The new regulation will be put in force starting in academic year of 2017-2018, the Ministry noted.
Front-page article of BirGün published on 4 August 2017, Friday with the headline of 'Have they now put their eyes on the meals of the special education students?'