Hürriyet Daily News
The press release of the report states that although education has significantly improved in Turkey in the last decade, the country still faces problems in terms of the “equity and quality” of the education system.
Just 16 percent of 15-year-olds attend schools with “average reading, math or science test scores that are comparable to or above the Economic Development and Cooperation, or OECD average.” There is an even wider gap among students caused by the varying degree of educational quality provided, according to the report. The most important factor for this gap comes from the “socio-economic and family background of individuals.”
Not only are the low coverage and inequity in access to early childhood education important problems in Turkey, but the quality of pre-primary education also appears to be fairly low, the report said.
In a recent publication by UNICEF, out of ten indicators considered for assessing the quality and access standards of childhood development, Turkey met only three, ranking at the bottom of OECD countries.
Turkey’s student population comprises more than 12 million children, roughly 11 million in primary education and slightly more than 1 million in pre-primary education. More than 137,000 new children entered the system last year, at different levels of education.
According to the report, Turkey must improve education in order “to respond to the growth and competitive ambitions of the country.” Better early childhood education, more efficient teachers, better systems of financing and more accountability are all possible solutions to the challenges, the report said.
Bold reforms in these areas are needed if Turkey wants to significantly enhance the set of skills with which the average student leaves the education system and if the country intends to reduce the existing inequality across provinces, districts, schools and students, the report added.
Another recent report by the OECD also showed that Turkey ranks low in rates of higher-education, exhibits gender disparities and has high unemployment rates among youth. Accordingly, only 18 percent of Turks attend university education, while the avarage among Economic Development and Cooperation, or OECD countries is 40 percent.