2,000 VILLAGE PUBLIC CENTERS AT THE SERVICE OF PEOPLEInauguration ceremony of 2,000 Village Public Centers was held at the Beştepe Nation Congress and Culture Center with the participation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Vice-President Fuat Oktay, Minister of National Education Mahmut Özer, Minister of Interior Affairs Süleyman Soylu and Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Vahit Kirişci.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said during his speech at the ceremony that they consider Village Public Centers as one of the strategic steps that "blends tradition with future in education" and in addition to bringing a fresh breath to education, these centers will prepared the children of the country to the future of Türkiye.
Expressing his belief that vocational and technical training programs, cultural and artistic activities organized at these centers will add a new dynamism to village life, President Erdoğan thanked the Ministry of National Education and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry for designing this project.
"The architect, author and the master of our Century of Türkiye dream is our 85 million citizens"
Noting that the Century of Türkiye programme, declared a short while ago, constitutes the framework for the country's goals for a new era, President Erdoğan said: "The architect, author and the master of our Century of Türkiye dream is our 85 million citizens."
"Like we turned Türkiye into the shining star of its region and the world in the last 20 years, we will enjoy the Century of Türkiye together. Our 20 year long experience in democracy and development reforms lay behind our ability today to discuss the Century of Türkiye as opposed to crises," President Erdoğan said.
"20 years ago, we promised to build Turkey on four main pillars and put education first"
"None of our achievements have been handed to us on a silver platter. We as a nation and country have had to strive, sweat, and even pay a price -when need be- for all our accomplishments. Out of a country of poverty and economic crises, we have built a Türkiye whose economy stands out with its industry, exports, tourism and agriculture. From a country where bans dominated universities and business life, Türkiye has become a country where rights and freedoms are protected," President Erdoğan said.
"We allocated largest share of budget to education and training"
"When we assumed the responsibility to govern our country 20 years ago, we promised to raise Türkiye upon four main pillars, and we placed education at the top," President Erdoğan said. "We have delivered on this promise in the past 20 years, as has been the case for every other promise we made. In every budget we prepared, we have allocated the greatest share to education. We have increased our annual budget for education from 7.5 billion liras to 304 billion liras as of last year."
Erdoğan stressed that a total of 651 billion liras will be allocated to education from the 2023 budget and added that, "We have changed the appearance of our schools from their libraries, labs, sports centers and workshops. We have appointed a total of 750 thousand teachers and the number of teachers in our education system exceeded 1 million. We have reached the OECD average in student per teacher figures. We have reinforced equal opportunity in education by distributing free textbooks and supplementary sources to students. We have lifted all barriers in education while some circles prevented female students to go to school due to fascistic reasons"
"Schooling rate of female students in secondary education is 90 percent"
Noting that the schooling rate of five year old children increased from 11 percent to 97 percent as a result of campaigns and investments, President Erdoğan said, "schooling rate which was 39 percent before our governments reached 90 percent. We are also very happy to see that women are especially showing great interest in vocational courses organized in public education centers."
Erdoğan stressed that more than 40 thousand people have attended training programs organized as a part of Family School Project since March.
Unused village school buildings are turned into active education units
President Erdoğan said that unused village school buildings are turned into active education units and a total of 122 thousand 664 people, 72 percent of them being women, attended 8,507 courses organized in the Village Public Centers. These centers organized a variety of courses about agriculture, horticulture, husbandry, agriculture technologies and food sector.
"We are aiming at opening these centers in every village"
Erdoğan noted that it is planned to make production at practice gardens and lands of village public centers with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and income from these agricultural products will be used for the compensation of the expenses of these centers.
"Children, youth and adults will get education in the same building as a part of our lifelong learning philosophy. We are aiming at opening these centers in every village until the end of 2023," stated Erdoğan.
All 6 thousand and 970 closed down village schools will be reopened
Village public centers designed as education centers for both children and adults were inaugurated in the vacant village schools and the number of these centers reached 2,000.
Following the speech of President Erdoğan, Ankara fine arts high school students gave a recital during the ceremony. After the ceremony, the Minister of National Education made a speech where he mentioned the multi-dimensional revolution achieved in education in the last 20 years under the leadership of Erdoğan.
Stressing that the most important in increasing the quality of human resources is education, Minister Özer said, "Due to this reason, all countries are working in an effort to increase schooling rates in all levels of education to 100 percent and increase their competitiveness. In the 2000s, the schooling rate of 5 year old children was 11 percent, schooling rate in secondary education was 44 percent and net schooling rate in higher education was 14 percent. Under the leadership of President Erdoğan, we have carried out education campaigns in every city and district of the country. Today, the schooling rate of five year old children reached 97 percent. Schooling rate in primary schools has reached 99.63 percent, in other words almost 100 percent. After the implementation of 4+4+4 system, the schooling rate in secondary education increased from 44 percent to 95 percent. Net schooling rate in higher education has increased from 14 percent to 48 percent. For the first time in the history of the republic, schooling rates in all levels of education exceeded 95 percent. Why did they wait for 70 years in order to increase this rate to 95 percent? Some circles put barriers by imposing antidemocratic practices in education such as headscarf ban and coefficient practice. But our education system become more democratic in the last twenty years and now it is a system that does not make any discrimination between people."
Özer said that like mentioned in the song composed for the Century of Türkiye, oppressed people have been singing songs in the country and expressed his wish that oppressed people will continue to sing not only in Türkiye but also all around the world.
"We have revised vacant village schools within a short period of time and we also made required revisions in the regulations in order to respond to the education needs of children living in villages. Recently, we inaugurated a village school for only one student in Van. These revised village schools as public education centers for adults. We will follow new developments and update training programs about agriculture and husbandry. We have started a project that will initiate agricultural development for a stronger Türkiye. We will organize all kinds of training programs and courses according to the needs of people living in villages," said Özer.
Özer added that all 6 thousand and 970 closed down village schools will be reopened until the end of 2023.
"We will leave a strong and great Türkiye to future generations"
Meanwhile, Minister of Interior Affairs Süleyman Soylu noted that he had recently visited Şırnak and Siirt and closed down villages schools in 40 out of 47 villages will be opened soon and they will provide villagers to return to their own villages.
"Village public center project will carry not only students but all people living in villages to a happier level. With the revolutions under the directions of our President, we will leave a strong and great Türkiye to our future generations. With Allah's permission, the Century of Türkiye will be a hope not only for our people but also for the whole world," Soylu stated.
"The project encourages people to return to villages"
Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Vahit Kirişci stated during his speech at the ceremony that village public centers are an important part of the Century of Türkiye vision announced by President Erdoğan adding that, "Reinforcement of education, health and energy infrastructure finally encourages people to return to villages."
Kirişçi mentioned the importance of agricultural production, food safety and employment and went on to say that: "Within this framework, we have signed the Village Public Centers Project with the Ministry of National Education on November 1 in order to convert vacant village schools into kindergartens, primary schools and public education centers. The project aims at increasing the variety of education activities carried out in village public centers and turning these centers to a center of attraction. We will organize general vocational and technical courses as well as training programs about agriculture, horticulture, agriculture technologies. Income gained from the practice gardens and lands will be used for the needs of these centers. Moreover, local directorates of both ministries will cooperate in order to organize visits to best examples. We will organize smart agriculture, digital agriculture, vertical farming and soilless agriculture training programs for teachers and students."