Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Gender segregation in Turkish schools might be the next reform in education

While Turkey is in the midst of debates about the educational reform plan of AKP, which passed the parliamentary commission debates thanks to the physical force applied by AKP MPs (member of parliament) on opposition MPs when the latter tried to filibuster the discussion of the AKP proposal (you can read more about this interesting episode of Turkish parliamentary history here, and watch a video of the spectacle here), Pınar Öğünç, a columnist for the Turkish daily Radikal, wonders whether there will be some more "reforms" on the way.

On her column dated March 16, Öğünç published an article entitled "An educational system in accordance with the brain of a Mrs." In this piece, she first reminds her readers of the fact that Eğitim-Bir-Sen (Eğitimciler Birliği Sendikası, the Syndicate of the Union of Educators), a conservative labor union in education, proposed an earlier version of the AKP educational reform back in November 2010 at the 18. National Education Consultative Assembly (Milli Eğitim Şurası), and that the union more recently provided the Parliament with its supportive views of the AKP proposal as well.

Then Öğünç withdraws our attention to the most recent issue of Bakış, a quarterly publication of the Eğitim-Bir-Sen. The January-March 2012 issue of the journal is focused on a single theme: mixed-sex education. Given the importance of the union as an indicator of future AKP policies in education, Öğünç wonders whether increasing opportunities for gender segregated education will be the next AKP educational reform that Turkey will witness in near future.

Out of the fourteen articles devoted to mixed-sex education in the most recent issue of Bakış, thirteen are about the harm co-education causes and the benefits of single-sex education. In the introductory piece of the issue, Ahmet Gündoğdu, the president of Eğitim-Bir-Sen, states that "there are a lot of things to do in the educational system that aims to turn our children into little ideologues. One of these things is the requirement of co-education that is still applied in our schools."

You can read the full Turkish text of Pınar Öğünç's column on Radikal.