Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Egitim Sen: Recent Education Projects Display Government's Desire to Raise A Religious Generation

On February 10, 2012, right after Prime Minister Erdogan's statement about the government's desire to raise a religious youth, the Istanbul branches of Education and Science Workers' Union (Egitim-Sen) held a press conference in which they expressed that Erdogan's statement was discriminatory but not unexpected. "A look at the educational policies of the government already displays the tendency to raise a religious youth", says Barış Uluocak, Branch President of Egitim-Sen. "Hence", he continues, "for those who follow these policies closely, Erdogan's statement is nothing more than a public announcement of what has already been known".

According to the news portal Bianet, indicating "that the prime minister's education projects were used as tools to design a religious social life, Uluocak noted the following examples:

* By splitting compulsory education into three periods of four years, Religious Vocational Schools can be chosen after fourth grade in primary school.

* The strategic plan 2012-2016 of the Department of Religious Affairs includes an article on 'efforts to develop pilgrimage services for students'. The department will play a more dominant role in education and training services.
* A Provincial National Education Director awarded the Director of a Counselling and Research Centre who gives pedagogic seminars to parents during the Friday prayer.
* The intent to do activities related to the Week of the Holy Birth in schools within the Values Education Project of the National Education Ministry (MEB).
* In the scope of the Progressive Project on Absenteeism (ADEY) of the MEB, the delegation going to the homes of absent students also includes persons on religious duties.
* The Istanbul Provincial National Education Directorate organized a writing project for all schools to choose writers close to the religious community."
To read the rest of the news article, please visit Bianet. To read the full text of the press release in Turkish please visit Egitim-Sen's website.