Turkey’s Ministry of National Education has released a ‘Document on Strategy on Teachers for 2017-2023.’ Although there are certain findings shared on the report that stand as ‘confessions’ about the shortcomings, the suggested ‘strategy’ cannot solve the current problems, experts pressed. And, Unions have criticized the document by stating ‘it will be bringing the teaching occupation to an end and enforce a state of emergency law on teachers.’
According to the reports, when we also take into account graduates of education departments who are currently taking additional courses related to their fields, the number of those prospective teachers is over 1 million. However, the report also says that there are not enough teachers.
Moreover, according to this report, teachers’ performances will, from now on, be monitored and evaluated periodically. And, this will be done with the participation of school principals, other teachers, parents, and students. Many rose questions about whether such practice will lead to ‘favoritism’ or not. Unions, on the other hand, have clearly said that this would ‘indeed open the way for pro-government’ professionals.
Some of the most important details in the report are as the following: ‘There is widespread criticism about senior year courses in education departments not being offered in line with curriculum due to the fact that senior students focus on studying for the Public Personnel Selection Exam (KPSS), through which they ‘could’ get appointed to a teaching position after graduation.
Since there are applications – to KPSS – much more than the number of teachers needed, this exam – KPSS – does not give priority to measuring the occupational performance of teachers and aims to ‘eliminate’ candidates through a multiple-choice testing method. And, every year, tens of thousands of graduates of education faculties begin waiting to be appointed and get greatly disappointed when not appointed.
Although teachers makeup the greatest part of public employment, the number of those graduates who do not get appointed has increased significantly. Although appointments have also increased in recent years, the number of teaching candidates waiting to be appointed is still much higher than the teachers currently needed.
According to latest data shared by ÖSYM (Board of Student Selection and Placement), 312688 graduates of teaching fields took the KPSS in 2014, while this number rose to 415508 in 2015; and, 455119 in 2016.
However, in 2014, 50990 teachers were appointed. This number was 52736 in 2015, and 49015 last year.
While over 400K candidates for teaching, who took the KPSS exam, could not get placed for a teaching position last year, there are also nearly 230K more young adults currently enrolled in education departments. Additionally, there are over 650K college students currently studying in field of sciences, literature, humanities, etc. and a great majority of them are hoping to get a teaching position in their fields after graduation. Therefore, there are actually over 1 million young people waiting to be appointed.
Head of the Anadolu Union of Education, Cansel Güven, criticized the new ‘strategy’ of the Ministry by saying, “This strategy document, which has been talked about for a long time not as a ‘good news’ but as a threat, has finally been released. Teachers in Turkey, who get the blame in for all shortcomings of the education system, have become the victims of trial-and-error systems – which were all far from science – in the country.”
Another union of the education sector, Eğitim İş, has also touched on the ‘strangeness’ that will be brought about with the new regulations and stated that ‘it is a document created with the aim of increasing number of supporters within the educaiton field.
Eğitim İşreleased a statement listing what this ‘new strategy’ is about:
- Teachers’ performances will be monitored and evaluated regularly. And, school principals, other teachers, parents, and students will all take part in this evaluation process. According to the results of the evulations, those teachers with ‘success marks’ will have a chance to be promoted and sent abroad.
- Every four years, teachers will have to take a competancy exam. And, in line with the results of their examination, it will be possible for a teacher to be relocated to another institution.
- Teachers who have been teaching at the same institution consequetively for ‘many years’, will face the possibility of relocation.
- Benefits for teachers, such as accomadation, will be improved.
- In addition to KPSS, candadiate teachers will also now take further exams and go through ‘verbal interviews’ related to their fields of study.
- Regional structuring of public schools will be revised.
Front-page article of BirGün published on 10 June 2017, Saturday with the title of 'Over 1 million prospective teachers will be waiting for appointment'
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