Turkey’s education ministry steps back with plans to improve dormitory conditions
Following a deadly fire at a dormitory in Turkey’s Adana province, where 11 children and a staff member lost their lives back in 29 November 2016, a new bill had been approved, in February 2017, to improve the health and safety conditions at private dormitories operating to host school-aged children.
As a result of pressure and objection from owners of dormitories, however, the Ministry of National Education has changed the newly adopted regulations and postponed its date of application to 1 August 2019.
The new standards established for opening and operating private dormitories and hostels were restricted just in a matter of a month after their creation. The previously approved improvements involved sizes of rooms and their windows; the height of the rooms; water tanks; and width of the stairs.
While the new adjustments made by the ministry with regards to these improvements were in line completely with the requests of the business owners, the obligation to have a health room, a safety area, a visitor’s room, and a room for recreational activities in all dormitory buildings was also lifted from the list of new improvements.
According to latest changes, the window size of a room can be as little as 5% of the area; and, 3 students can stay in a 35 meter square room. While the previous regulation made it mandatory to make the rooms’ ceiling at least 2.5 meters above the floor, the ministry lowered that to 2.2 meters. The spare water tank capacity had previously been determined as to be minimum 30 liters. That has also been dropped down to 20 liters. The stair width, on the other hand, can be as narrow as 0.9 meters, according to latest changes. Libraries, on the other hand, will be as small as 10 meter square.
When announcing the changes and its postponed date of enforcement, the Ministry of National Education openly mentioned that the decision has been taken with the request of dormitory owners, who claimed that they needed more time to make the necessary adjustments.
Front-page article of BirGün published on 12 July 2017, Wednesday