EDUCATION HAS BEEN SUSPENDED UNTIL MARCH 1 IN 10 PROVINCES AFFECTED BY THE EARTHQUAKEMinister of National Education Mahmut Özer met with representatives of 4 education unions. After the meeting, Özer made statements about how the education and training processes will be carried out in 71 provinces, especially 10 quake-hit provinces affected by the earthquakes centered in Kahramanmaraş. Özer announced that education was suspended until 1 March in 10 provinces affected by the earthquake, and that decisions regarding schools and districts will be taken after 1 March. Minister Özer also stated that education will start on 20 February in 71 provinces.
Minister Özer met with Secretary General of Eğitim Bir Sen Latif Selvi, President of Türk Eğitim Sen Talip Geylan, President of Eğitim Sen Nejla Kurul, President of Eğitim İş Kadem Özbay at the Ministry of National Education. In addition to general managers, Deputy Ministers Petek Aşkar and Sadri were also attended the meeting.
Stating that as the Ministry, they are trying to bring students together with their schools safely, Minister Özer said that they are a big family with 19 million students and 1.2 million teachers. Stating that as it is understood during the Covid-19 pandemic, it is impossible to normalize Türkiye without normalizing education, Özer stated that they give priority to ensure security in 10 provinces and restart education. Stating that they congruently went over the decisions with the union representatives, Özer shared the decisions they took today.
Schools will open on February 20 in 71 provinces
Underlining that education and training activities will start on February 20 in 71 provinces with no further extension, Minister Özer repeated that they did not require compulsory attendance for the second term from students in all classes and levels in 10 quake- hit provinces. Reminding that they have done the necessary work regarding the transfer of the students studying in 10 quake-hit provinces to the equivalent schools in 71 cities upon the request of their parents, Özer said that they have transferred 809 students. Özer stated that in order to meet all the demands of these students coming from 10 provinces, studies on increasing the capacity of the schools in the other 71 provinces continue.
Private education institutions will give scholarships up to 7 percent of their capacity to students from 10 quake- hit provinces
Sharing the decisions regarding giving scholarships to earthquake-affected students in private education institutions, Özer said that private education institutions have the opportunity to provide scholarships to the relatives of martyrs and veterans and students up to 3 percent of their capacity. Emphasizing that all private education institutions use 3 percent capacity, Özer announced that the Ministry has made the necessary meetings with private education institutions and increased the scholarship capacity of private education institutions from 3 percent to 10 percent. Underlining that they will use the 7 percent capacity only for the students coming from ten quake-hit provinces, Özer expressed his gratitude to private education institutions, all association officials and representatives.
Damage assessment of MEB buildings in the earthquake zone will be completed by the end of February
Stating that the Ministry has 20 thousand 868 buildings in 10 provinces, Özer noted that 24 buildings have been destroyed and 83 buildings have been heavily damaged. Regarding the damage assessment discussed with the Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change Özer stated the damage assessment will be completed by the end of February. Özer announced that they have suspended education in 10 provinces until 1 March. Stating that they will make a reevaluation after completing these deficiencies until March 1, Özer announced that they will take district and school-based decisions in 10 provinces as of March 1. Noting that they will start education and training completely in the districts where there is no damage, especially in Kilis, Adana, Gaziantep and Diyarbakır, and announce to public as of March 1, Özer said that they will switch to double-shift schooling in 10 provinces if they need to. Özer stated that they aim to support children's learning, provide psychosocial support, and normalize their lives with games and various activities by establishing additional tents in these centers. Underlining that they have set up 141 tents for this purpose, Özer said that all preschool and guidance teachers as well as psychological counsellors work in each tent. Özer noted that they aim to complete the work by the end of next week and put into effect additional mechanisms to support children in all assembly centers established in ten provinces.
"The Ministry of National Education mobilized all its resources"
Stating that the Ministry of National Education is mobilized all its' resources, Minister Özer said that while the ministry is planning education and training, on the other hand, all the teachers, volunteers and MEB AKUB teams affiliated to the Ministry, are actively participating the efforts including search and rescue in the field in order to meet all kinds of needs of citizens such as nutritional requirements.
Expressing his gratitude to all teachers for their efforts, Minister Özer said that they produce hot meals for approximately 2 million people per day, and provide accommodation for 465 thousand citizens, 25 thousand outside the earthquake zone, in the Ministry's schools, YBOs, practice hotels and dormitories. Emphasizing that approximately 5 thousand search and rescue teams of the Ministry of National Education support AFAD and other aid and rescue efforts, Özer said that 2 thousand guidance teachers and psychological counselors are actively trying to provide psychological support to citizens, children and teachers. He said that by increasing this number to 4 thousand as of Monday, they will be able to reach all areas.
Stressing that they are trying to manage the education and training process in unity and solidarity by consulting with all stakeholders, Minister Özer expressed gratitude to officers of the Ministry. Emphasizing that he has been in contact with the education union officials since the first day, Özer said that they took measures quickly in accordance with the data obtained from the field, managed this process in unity.