MINISTER ÖZER: WE EDUCATE 10,000 CHILDREN AT HOME BY SENDING TEACHERSMinister of National Education Mahmut Özer attended the launch of ÖZEV Vocational Center for Students with Learning Disability in Ankara. Özer said that teachers are educating 10,000 children who are too ill to go out in order to prevent any interruption in their education.
Minister of National Education Mahmut Özer said during his speech at the ceremony held in the Keçiören Necip Fazıl Kısakürek Theatre Hall that the most valuable asset of a country is its human resources and they have been making giant investment in order to increase the quality of human resources and provide full participation of children at school age to education. Özer announced three key words as "inclusion, equal opportunities in education and quality" and went on to say that, "inclusion means providing equal education services to all people regardless of their socioeconomic background or disability and equitability and quality must accompany inclusion. It is important to reach quality education, not any education."
Özer said that Türkiye has been making important investments in education in the last twenty years within this context and added; "Schooling rate of five year old children was only 11 percent in the 2000s and now it is 99 percent. Schooling rate in secondary education was 44 percent and now it is 95 percent. Recent schooling rate in primary schools is 99.63 percent and it is 99.44 percent in secondary schools. For the first time, we had the opportunity to include all our human resources to education based on the principle of providing equal opportunities. We have carried out campaigns and projects in order to achieve this goal and education needs of children with special needs are responded to by using all the means of the Ministry at maximum level."
Özer stated that the Ministry is currently providing education services to approximately 423 thousand students with special needs and they are working in an effort to provide this service as a part of inclusive education services.
He said, "Approximately 90 percent of these students are already enrolled in inclusive education. Others are enrolled in special education schools and special education vocational schools. Our teachers are educating 10.000 children who are too ill to go out in order to prevent any interruption in their education"
Özer went on to say that: "The Ministry of National Education also gives education to 994 ill children at hospitals. Within this framework, Türkiye is an example for the continental Europe. It is important to detect our shortcomings and make improvements. For example, there were not enough special education kindergartens in our country. In 2020, there will be no special education kindergarten in 53 cities of our country. Right now, there is at least one in every city and the total number of special education kindergartens has reached 145. We wish to increase this figure to 350 in 2023. Preschool education is crucial not only for children with special needs but for all children. It is the cost effective investment for life. In addition to cognitive skills, preschool education also helps children to develop non-cognitive skills. Crime rate of people who enrolled in preschool education is very low and their duration of employment and education is longer. In other words, when we invest in preschool education, we also invest in building a more prosperous, peaceful and respectful society."
"We doubled the targeted capacity in preschool education"
Özer reminded that there were only 2,782 kindergartens in Türkiye on August 6 when he was named as the Minister of National Education and the schooling rate of five year old children was 65 percent, schooling rate of three year old children was 9 and schooling rate of oour year old children was 16. The Ministry prepared a project with the support of Emine Erdoğan in order to inaugurate 3,000 kindergartens.
"We doubled the targeted capacity in preschool education within a year and preschool education capacity increased to 6,400 during this period" said Özer, "As a result, schooling rate of three year old children increased from 9 percent to 16 percent, schooling rate of four year old children increased from 16 percent to 37 percent and schooling rate of five year old children increased from 65 percent to 99 percent. In the long term, it is the most important investment in the education system."
Özer stressed that in addition to dissemination of special education preschools, the Ministry also focused on the education of adults who need special education and said, "There were no mechanisms about them in Türkiye. In other words, there was no education institution or support mechanism that provides education services to older people who need special education. With the support of Emine Erdoğan, we inaugurated the very first public education center for adults who need special education in Kadıköy district of İstanbul. Our goal was to inaugurate similar centers in 81 cities of the country and we did it. Now, our goal is to inaugurate these centers in 922 districts of our country. Developments in special education in Türkiye will become an example for the entire world."
"We already achieved what other countries declared as an action plan"
Özer mentioned that he had attended the OECD Education Ministers' Meeting last week in Paris and had contacts with officials and noted that Türkiye has reached an advanced level in education.
"I had the opportunity to share the developments in Türkiye during this visit. I see that we already achieved our goals in many fields varying from special education to preschool education and from vocational education to digitalization in education while many countries declared these projects as an action plan. We will join forces in order to carry equitable and quality education to higher levels. I would like to use this opportunity to express my gratitude to former Minister and Parliament Speaker for making positive discrimination for special education," Özer added.
Toptan: "When I was the Minister of National Education, schooling rate in preschool education was 2.5 or 3 percent"
Meanwhile, former Minister of National Education Köksal Toptan stated that the Ministry has been carrying out important projects for people who need special education and achieved important success especially in preschool education.
Noting that preschool education is a very important start for disabled children, Özer said, "When I was the Minister of National Education, the schooling rate in preschool education was 2.5 or 3 percent. Recently, Minister Özer made a huge progress. Preschool is no longer a problem and closed down village schools are converted to village public centers. I am sure that our government is capable of solving every problematic issue such as the needs of disabled persons and their employment."
Toptan went on to say that; "The Ministry finds each solution, implements them and prepares our children for the future regardless of their disability. As a former Minister of National Education, my respect and love for our Minister Özer gradually increases when I see how he successfully carries out important projects."