MINISTER ÖZER GOT TOGETHER WITH SCHOOL PRINCIPALS IN İZMİR AS A PART OF THE 2022-2023 SCHOOL YEAR PREPARATIONSMinister of National Education Mahmut Özer got together with the state school principals in İzmir as a part of the 2022-2023 school year preparations.
Addressing school principals at the preparation meeting, Mahmut Özer expressed his happiness to be in İzmir and reminded that he paid his first official visit to this city as the Minister of National Education.
"Our Ministry is at the service of distinguished teachers and school administrators in order to respond to your needs about education. We are also happy to successfully complete the 2021-2022 school year which began on September 6 and ended on July 17 with determination without any interruption. Actually, we have witnessed that there was a change in the behavior of teachers, school administrators and students after one and a half year suspension in face-to-face education. It was not easy to manage the face-to-face education process by adamantly obeying health rules. We did not wait until the end of the pandemic to open schools. Entire society saw that schools are the safest places as long as required measures are taken even under extraordinary conditions like Covid-19 pandemic," said Minister Özer.
Reminding that there were some negative comments about teachers during that process such as teachers did not want to go to school for face-to-face education, Özer noted that teachers worked hard during distance education period; they produced digital teaching contents for digital platforms, gave online classes and worked as a part of vefa working groups.
"We have sent certificates of achievement to all teachers and administrative personnel twice for their hard work. We can solve all problems when we join forces. When we walk this path together, we have the power to manage all kinds of processes with success in an effort to offer quality of education to the children of this country," stated Özer.
Last 20 years coincides with gigantic transformation in education"
Noting that the last 20 years of the country coincides with gigantic transformation in education, Özer said, "I used all kinds of opportunities to highlight this fact. Gigantic investments made in the last 20 years in order to increase schooling rate in all levels of education. In the 2000s, there were approximately 300,000 classrooms in the education system and today we have 855,000 classrooms. In other words, our education system has nearly 1 million classrooms. These investments caused an important increase in the schooling rates. Schooling rate for 5 year old children which was 11 percent in the 2000s reached 93 percent today and schooling rate in secondary education which was 44 percent exceeded 90 percent. Schooling rate in higher education increased from 14 percent to 48,5 percent."
Özer noted that socioeconomically disadvantaged children and female students benefited most from the improvements in the education and for the first time in the history of the Republic, the number of female students exceeded the number of male students,
"When we consider the results of international student surveys like PİSA and TIMSS, we see that Türkiye gradually increases its success in every cycle. Crucial parameters in these surveys are teacher per student, classroom per student and quality of teacher figures. In 2000s, there were approximately 500,000 teachers in our education system and today we have 1,2 million teachers. In other words, 750,000 teachers were appointed during the last 20 years. Türkiye also achieved to decrease the number of student per teacher figures despite its increasing number of students. I would like to use this opportunity to thank our President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who allocated highest portion of budget to education," stated Özer.
Minister Özer said that his Ministry has been prioritizing three subjects namely, preschool education, vocational education and professional development of teachers.
"We have reached the desired level in preschool education yet. On August 6, 2021, schooling rate among 3 year old children was 14 percent; it was 35 percent among 4 year old children and 78 percent among 5 year old children. Our goal was to increase schooling rate among 3 year old children from 14 percent to 50 percent, among 4 year old children from 35 percent to 70 percent and among 5 year old children from 78 percent to 100 percent. Within this framework, we have decided to open 3,000 new kindergartens and 40,000 preschool classes. Within 10 months, we opened 758 kindergartens and 9,000 preschool classes. During this period, schooling rate among 5 year old children reached 93 percent," stated Özer.
He stressed that preschool education is crucial for decreasing success differences among schools and increasing equal opportunity in education.
Concerning vocational education, Minister Özer mentioned the harms of February 28 process and noted that implementations preventing graduates of vocational high schools to enroll in higher education was a big problem.
Özer said that such practices were lifted in 2012 and as a result of projects and cooperation protocols, academically successful students recently prefer vocational high schools.
"Vocational schools are involving in R&D activities, increasing their production capacity and exporting their products. They are writing a success story. They produced most needed products during the Covid-19 pandemic varying from masks to disinfectants, from face guards to disposal overalls. Pandemic showed that most important capital of a country is its human resources. Due to this reason, we have reinforced education-production-employment cycle in vocational high schools."
Özer noted that an amendment in the Vocational Education Law No. 3308 turned vocational schools into an attractive mechanism for both employers and students.
Number of foremen and apprentices enrolled in the vocational education system reached 553 thousand from 160,000 and as President Erdoğan announced earlier, the Ministry aims at enrolling 1 million students in the vocational education institutions.
Özer stressed that third prior concern of his Ministry is to support professional and personal development of teachers.
"Most important step within this context was the Teaching Profession Law which came into force on February 14, 2022. It transformed teaching to a career system. We included expert teaching and head teaching concepts which highlights our view as teaching is a lifelong learning profession. Approximately 603,000 teachers applied to expert and head teaching positions. 70,000 of these applications were for head teaching. As of July 18, we organized training programs for these applicants through Teacher Information Network. Expert teacher candidates will attend 180 hour long and head teacher candidates will attend 240 hours long training programs," said Özer.
He stressed that his Ministry is implementing three different methods about development training programs. The Ministry plans general training programs as well as school based training programs. Secondly, it initiated teacher and school administrator mobility program. Thirdly, there are the professional development groups.
"We have seen the outcome of these methods within a short period of time. In 2020, number of teachers who attended the training programs organized by our Ministry was 1,2 million and training program hour per teacher was approximately 44 hours. After August 2022, this figure reached 94 hours. As of June, the Ministry gave 5,5 million certificates to teachers. Our goal is to give at least 120 hours training to each teacher until the end of 2022. We have increased the budget allocated for training programs by 35 times. Budget allocated to these programs was 8,9 million in 2021 and it was increased to 292 in 2022," noted Özer.
Minister Özer stated that they have started preparations for the 2022-2023 school year in all cities of the country and allocated total of 600 million liras as a part of preparation. 200 million liras will be spent for stationary, 150 million will be used for cleaning supplies, 80 million will be spared for minor repairs and 170 million will be used for other needs.
"Donations are not obligatory during the registration
Özer stressed that the Ministry of National Education has the power and means to respond the needs of schools adding that, "there is no positive correlation between donations and registration but parents can make donations to schools or parent teacher associations."
He added that their goal is to reinforce school climate and create an environment that has no peer bullying, violence and offer quality of education in a healthy circle.