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Turkey's new curricula include 'jihad' but leave out 'theory of evolution'

When announcing the latest curriculum changes in Turkey, the Minister of National Education, İsmet Yılmaz, said ‘the concept of jihad was part of Islam and that July 15 was part of the great jihad’ but ‘the theory of evolution had no philosophical background’.

BİRGÜN DAİLY 20.07.2017 17:08
Turkey's new curricula include 'jihad' but leave out 'theory of evolution'
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On Tuesday (July 18), Turkey’s Minister of Education İsmet Yılmaz announced the new curriculum that will be put in force starting on the academic year of 2017-2018. Minister Yılmaz stated that a total of 51 separate curricula for elementary (17), tertiary (24), and Islamic İmam-Hatip (10) schools have been changed. In the revised curriculums, from which the theory of evolution has been excluded, chapters on FETÖ, PKK, DAEŞ, and jihad have been added. July 15 has also been included in the new chapters as the Day of Victory of Democracy and National Unity. According to the introductory guide on the new curriculum, transition to the new curriculum will be at once, rather than gradually. In 2018-2019 academic year, all grades’ curriculum will be revised and put in application.

Asserting that the revisions on the curriculum have been designed ‘in accordance with the plan of action of the AKP government’, Minister Yılmaz said ‘it has been clearly explained, in the newly added introductory section of the curriculum text, why and how value education is led’.

When referring to the exclusion of the theory of evolution, Minister Yılmaz said not only the chapters on evolution in the biology courses but also some other chapters in courses of physics and chemistry have been removed from curriculum of some lower grades. ‘The reason for the theory of evolution to be brought up so often is not due to concerns regarding science but due to attempts of some people to take sides’, Minister said.

Previous attempts for chapters on principals of Atatürk had been objected by the members of the main opposition. However, not only have those disputed chapters been shortened and limited, new chapters have been added on ‘July 15 Democracy Victory and National Unity Day’, instead.

In social sciences course content, Gezi Park protests are told as an ‘incident that took place with the triggering of national and foreign powers’…

“It is the duty of the Ministry of National Education to teach all concepts correctly. It is also our responsibility to correct things that have been taught or perceived wrongly... There is the concept of ‘jihad’. Even if you say there is not, it does exist. We need to teach this to our children. And, what happened in July 15 (foiling of the coup by people) is part of jihad”, Minister said.


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