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Turkey at a Glance


    Official Language:



    Latin Alphabet, since 1928

    Academic Year:

    September through May/June

    Duration of Schooling:

    5 + 3 + 3

    Compulsory Schooling:

    8 years (ages 6-14)

The Principles of the Turkish National Education:
According to the Constitution governing the Republic no one shall be deprived of the right of learning education. Further-more, primary education is compulsory and free in state schools. Except in specially licensed institutions Turkish must be taught as the mother tongue and religions instruction is a compulsory subject in the primary and secondary school curriculum.
The Following are the constitutional principles underlining the Turkish Educational system:

  1. Universality and equality,
  2. Fulfillment of individual and social needs,
  3. Freedom of choice
  4. Right to education
  5. Quality of opportunity
  6. Education for all throughout life
  7. Adherence to Ataturk's reform principles including secularis
  8. Building of democracy
  9. Scientific approach
  10. Co-education
  11. School parent cooperation.

Goals of Turkish National Education:

  1. To achieve 100 percent participation rate in elementary education (95 percent in 1986).
  2. To raise the rate of literacy of the society which has already reached 85 %.
  3. To emphasize technical and vocational education.
  4. To extend comprehensive schools where multi-purpose programs are to be offered to 60 % of the children in secondary schools by the 1995-96 school year.
  5. To take the necessary measures to raise the quality of national education.
  6. To expand the provision of pre-school education so as to meet fully the demand for it.

Educational System - Divisions:
The educational system consists of two main divisions namely "formal" and "non-formal" education. Formal education covers the institutions of "pre-school education", "primary education", "secondary education", and "higher education". "Non-formal education" covers all other educational provision sponsored by the Ministry that occurs outside formal education.


    Pre-School (0-6)
    Primary School (6-14)
    Public School
    Private Schools
    Regional boarding schools
    Special Education Schools
    Middle Schools and Lycees (14-17)
    Middle Schools
    General Lycees
    Evening Middle Schools
    Science Lycees
    Anatolian High Schools
    Middle Schools and Lycees (14-17)
    Middle Schools
    General Lycees
    Evening Middle Schools
    Science Lycees
    Anatolian High Schools


    Apprenticeship training centers Public training centers
    Practical trade Schools Adult Technical Training centers

  1. Pre-primary Education:
    Pre-primary education is considered an adjunct to the public education system rather than and integral part of it. Most pre-primary schools are privately operated, though some attached to State primary schools. They are concentrated in the larger towns and cities, where they meet a need arising from the rapidly rising number of working mothers.

  2. Primary Education:
    The five year primary education is compulsory for every child as soon as they reach the age of six. Most elementary school students dress similarly in a type of uniform.
    Children who fail to reach the required standard at the end of any year may repeat it, and by this process it is possible for a child to remain in primary school until the age of 14. Normally, however, the primary phase of basic education ends at age of 11 with award of a Primary School Certificate (Diploma).

  3. Secondary Education:
    The high school education is divided into two stages, each stage lasting three years, for a total of six years. The high school programs are not different than the programs in the United States. The main distinction in the classroom structure is that the teachers, instead of students, go from class to class.
    1. Technical and Vocational Lycees: Although general lycees remain the core of the secondary sector, there has recently been a growing emphasis on expanding the number and capacity of technical and vocational lycees.
    2. Technical Lycees: These are specialized institutions and include the following specialized types:
      electricity, electronics, chemistry,
      machinery, motors, building.
      Courses in technical lycees are designed to prepare students either for professional life or for further studying.

    3. Vocational Lycees: These fall into eight main types as follows:
      Industrial Vocational Lycees Girls' Vocational Lycees (home economics etc.)
      Public Health Vocational Lycees Commercial Vocational Lycees
      Agricultural Vocational Lycees Meteorology Vocational Lycee
      Animal Husbandry Vocational Lycee Land Registration and Cadastre Vocational Lycee

      Courses in these lycees are designed to prepare students for working life in their particular fields. Graduates can also apply for higher education.

    In order to provide further opportunities for the children with limited finances, there are high schools with boarding facilities. These schools are free of charge and the students are placed according to the results of an examination.

    In addition to normal middle-high schools, there are also evening middle-high schools, which usually operate in the same buildings. These are designed to allow those who take up employment after primary (or middle school) to continue their formal education. Evening schools are one year longer than day schools, but they provide exactly the same right of access to secondary/higher education.

    With limited exceptions, high schools are at large owned by the government and provide free educational opportunities. Graduates of these high schools can attend universities after the university entrance examination. The centralized examination is administrated by the Supreme Council of Higher Education and determines candidates for the enrollment of each university and faculty after evaluating the grades of related subjects, their high school results and their preferences according to the student capacity of each faculty.

As with the overall administration of the country, educational administration is firmly centralized under the Ministry of Education. The Ministry is responsible for drawing up curricula, coordinating the work of official, private and voluntary organizations, designing and building schools, developing educational materials and so on. The Supreme Council of National Education discusses and decides on curricula, regulations etc. prepared by the Ministry.
Educational affairs in the provinces are organized by the Directors of National Education appointed by the Minister. However, they work under the direction of the provincial governor.

Public education at all levels receives major support from the central government, which is responsible for all educational expenses. Primary education is also supported locally, mainly for the construction and maintenance of schools. About 10 % of the general budget is allocated for education.

Academic Calendar: The academic year generally begins in late September or early October and extends through to May or early June, with some variations between urban and rural areas. The school day comprised of a morning and an afternoon session except in overcrowded schools, where a split session may be required. Schools are in session for five days a week. There is also a two week winter break in February.
Universities and colleges usually organize the academic year into two semesters, the first extending from October to January, the second from February/March to June/July.

Distribution of Schools and Teachers:

#of Teachers #of Schools #of Students
Total (Elementary) 235,721 49,974 6,707.725
Urban (Sehir) 138,481 7,796 -
Rural (Koy) 97,240 42,178 -
Public (Resmi) 233,169 49,770 6,664.160
Private (Ozel) 2,552 204 43,565
Female (Bayan) 100,822 -------- 3,168.808
Male (Erkek) 134,899 -------- 3,543.971
Total (Secondary) 56,055 (JH)
124,947 (HS)
7,544 (JH)
4,239 (HS)
2,556.339 (JH)
Urban (Sehir) 38,963 (JH)
120,445 (HS)
4,190 (JH)
3,874 (HS)
Rural (Koy) 14,892 (JH)
4,502 (HS)
3,354 (JH)
355 (HS)
Public (Resmi) 56,005 (JH)
122,970 (HS)
7,320 (JH)
4,003 (HS)
2,493.330 (JH)
1,696.155 (HS)
Private (Ozel) 50 (?) (JH)
7,504 (HS)
224 (JH)
236 (HS)
63,009 (JH)
47,316 (HS)
Female (Bayan) 20,724 (JH)
50,422 (HS)
-------- 981,313 (JH)
671,908 (HS)
Male (Erkek) 35,331 (JH)
74,525 (HS)
-------- 1,575.026 (JH)
1,071.563 (HS)

Year: 1992-1993

JH = Junior High School (Ortaokul)

HS = High School (Lise)

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