MEB HOLDS AN EVALUATION MEETING ON THE OECD 2023 REPORT ON TÜRKİYEThe OECD Report on Türkiye, in which education reforms in Türkiye' made in the last two decades have been comprehensively evaluated in terms of quality and accessibility, was discussed at the meeting held under the chairmanship of Minister of National Education Mahmut Özer with the broad participation of Ministry bureaucrats and national education directors of 81 provinces.
Minister of National Education Mahmut Özer emphasized that the OECD Report was prepared in the light of serious negotiations. Thanking everyone who contributed to the preparation of the report Minister said that although Türkiye has made very important transformations in education under the leadership of our President in the last two decades, with this report, they aim to register these transformations with a document and to be certified by an international organization such as the OECD as a report in which the positive aspects and development areas of Türkiye are evaluated.
Noting that he made two requests during his meeting with the OECD Secretary General in Paris, Özer said that the first request was the preparation of such a report, because in the international community, although the OECD follows the developments in Türkiye very well, there is no comprehensive report on Türkiye. Özer emphasized that the point Türkiye has reached is not appreciated enough. Secondly, Özer stated that they aim to organize a vocational training program with international participation in Istanbul in order to evaluate the progress Türkiye has made in vocational education in recent years, adding that they have fulfilled this request as of today.
Stating that the most permanent capital of a country is human capital, Minister Özer emphasized that education is the most important instrument in increasing the quality of human capital and its competitiveness with other countries. Özer said that it is not possible to use human resources efficiently unless the problem of access to education is resolved.
Pointing out that the enrollment rates at all levels of education, except primary school, were below fifty percent in the 2000s, Özer stated that the enrollment rates at the five year old age group were 11 percent, in secondary education were 44 percent, and the net enrollment rates in higher education were14 percent. Özer said that these rates show that Türkiye has been quite unsuccessful in using human resources in education in the past. Özer stated that the number of classrooms, which was 300 thousand by the first physical investment of our President, increased to 850 thousand in twenty years.
Reminding that the antidemocratic practices from the headscarf ban to the coefficient application have been lifted in the last two decades, Özer emphasized that these bans were lifted under the leadership of President Erdoğan and that very serious changes were made in the curriculum.
Saying that the education system has become much more sensitive to social demands with the democratization moves, Özer noted that the education system has turned into a system that constantly updates itself in accordance with the social demands.
Stating that the third topic is to ensure equality of opportunity in education, Minister Özer stated that the OECD report concentrates heavily on the social policies implemented to remove the barriers to access to education between the rich and the poor. Özer noted that very crucial social policies have been put into effect for families with low income and those who have problems with girls' access to education.
Underlining that they have an education system in which books are given to all children free of charge at the beginning of education and training so that there is no discrimination between the rich and the poor, Özer stated that as of today, the number of free books distributed in the education system in the last twenty years has reached 4 billion. In addition to this, Özer stated that they have distributed 190 million supplementary resources for free since the 2022-2023 academic year, and stated providing transported education and food services free of charge for twenty years, so that children do not fall behind in education. Stating that the number of students who were provided with food service increased from 1.8 million to 5 million, Minister Özer noted that they have been providing free meals to all children in preschool education since February 6. Stating that they provide conditional cash transfer for education within the scope of a project carried out with the Ministry of Family and Social Services on providing financial support to families who have financial difficulties regarding access to education, Özer reminded that 683 thousand families benefited from conditional education in 2021. Özer emphasized that Türkiye is now a country that has solved the problem of access to education.
Minister Özer stressed that the enrollment rates at the age of 5 were 11 percent in the 2000s, and this rate reached 99.86 percent in 2020. Stating that the enrollment rate has increased to 99.54 percent in primary school, Özer said that it has reached 99.17 percent in secondary school and 99.12 percent in high school. Özer underlined that as a result of the breakthroughs in the last twenty years, the enrollment rate has risen over 99 percent for the first time in the history of the Republic. Özer stated that the OECD report 'shows Türkiye among the rare countries that ensure continuous improvement in quality indicators, and that Türkiye presents a success story in education.
Minister Özer thanked President Erdoğan for bringing all regions together with investments, regardless of family, region or district, and completing all the equality of the country and the republic for the next century and compensating for all the developments to be made regarding human resources.
Emphasizing that the number of students who cannot access education in 4+4+4 compulsory education in Türkiye is below 100 thousand, Özer stated that they reach children, especially girls, who cannot access education in their villages or neighborhoods, and bring them together with education. Expressing that some of the figures on this matter were distorted, Özer said that this distortion is disrespectful to the efforts of deputy ministers and teachers.
We are in a much better position compared to the 2021 data obtained in the OECD report.
Stating that in the OECD report, the enrollment rates between the ages of 5 and 14 in Türkiye are higher than the OECD average, Özer said that the report is incomplete as it does not share the data after 2021. Özer stressed that Türkiye is in a much better situation in enrollment rates than the data has shown in the report. Stating that the data indicating the enrollment rates in preschool education reached 99.86 percent were not included in the report, Özer reminded that when they took office in 2021, the enrollment rate for the 3 year old age group was 9 percent, the 4 year old age group was 16 percent and the 5 year old age group was 65 percent. Pointing out that they started a project, a pre-school education campaign under the auspices of Mrs. Emine Erdoğan, Minister Özer said that they created an additional capacity of 6 thousand 700 kindergartens in one year, compared to 2 thousand 782 in all districts and cities in Türkiye. Sharing the information, they increased the enrollment rate for the 3 year old age group to 21 percent, for the 4 year old age group to 42 percent and for the 5 year old age group to 99.86. Noting that the enrollment rates for the 15-19 age group approached the OECD average, Minister emphasized that the enrolment rate of the 20-39 age group is well beyond the OECD average. Özer emphasized that the enrollment rate of girls in secondary education, which was 39.2 percent in the 2000s, has risen to 99 percent.
Özer stated that the change in the law on vocational education at the end of 2021 led to a major transformation as it has mentioned in the OECD report.
Stating that the report did not mention the figures related to vocational education, Özer reminded that they opened Türkiye's first vocational high school on aviation and space technologies in Ankara yesterday. Stating that vocational education is now a permanent observer of the labor market and social dynamics, Minister Özer emphasized that vocational high schools are taking firm steps towards the production target of 3.5 billion liras in 2023.
Pointing out that one of the most important subjects emphasized in the report is the number of students per teacher, Özer said that Türkiye is constantly making efforts to reduce this rate. Reminding that the number of students in the 2000s was less than today, Özer said that despite this, the number of students per teacher in the 2000s was higher than today.
"The number of students per teacher in secondary education is better than the OECD average"
Stating that Türkiye ensures that the education system is not affected by the negative effects of this growth by constantly appointing teachers every year under the leadership of President Erdoğan, Minister Özer stated that the number of teachers in the education system, which was 500 thousand in the 2000s, has reached 1 million 250 thousand teachers today. As mentioned in the report, Özer said that the number of students per teacher from preschool to high school is close to the OECD average, and emphasized that the number of students per teacher in secondary education is better than the OECD average. Expressing that this is another issue mentioned in the Teaching Profession Law, Minister Özer stated that there are approximately 583 thousand chartered and head teachers in the education system and the education army will become much stronger with new experts and head teachers.
School-based budget and professional development training were included in the report.
Speaking about the Teaching Career Steps exam, Minister Özer stated that despite all the manipulations, 99 percent of teachers have participated and successfully completed this process under the leadership of President Erdoğan.
Emphasizing that they attach great importance to the reporting of the school-based budget and the school-based development of teachers made in the last year, Özer stated that they have provided budget to be spent on improvements to infrastructure or educational materials such as cleaning, stationery, repairs, equipment for schools for the first time in Türkiye. Özer stated that the OECD report evaluated this initiative as an important move as it increases the equality of opportunity in education and the autonomy of schools.
Mentioning school-based professional development training of teachers, Özer said that school-based professional development training is one of the most important permanent moves they have made. Expressing that there has been a significant improvement in the number and quality of the trainings of teachers regarding school-based professional development activities, especially with the establishment of the Teacher Information Network, Özer said that the report expressed that with the contribution of these two important steps, the average training hours per teacher increased from 39 hours to 250.1 hours in a year. Özer noted that they aim to reach 350 hours.
Noting that despite the increase in the number of students, the expenditures per student have increased, Özer said that the OECD report shown Türkiye as an OECD country that increased the total expenditure from all sources on primary to tertiary educational institutions in the gross national product (GDP) the most between 2011 and 2019 which was above the OECD average of 5.49 percent. Özer said that Türkiye has spent an average of 6 percent of its GDP.
Stating that the report emphasizes that the education system in Türkiye is much more resilient to international crises such as financial crises and the Covid- 19 pandemic, Özer said that one of the most important reasons for this resilience is the support for equality of opportunity in continuous education and new initiatives. Özer said that as it is seen in the report, Türkiye has an education system that has really broken its shell in twenty years regarding education and can now compete with OECD countries, sees its own shortcomings and strives to complete these deficiencies. Özer said that Inshallah, under the leadership of President Erdoğan, the Century of Türkiye will be the essential point of the education system.
Özer thanked the ministers, director generals, department heads, provincial and district directors, teachers and everyone who contributed to the Turkish education system to reach this point.
Governor of Ordu Tuncay Sonel and Mayor of Ordu Metropolitan Municipality Mehmet Hilmi Güler, Deputy Ministers Petek Aşkar, Nazif Yılmaz, Sadri Şensoy and Osman Sezgin, director generals, heads of departments and provincial directors of 81 provinces attended the meeting.