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A question on dershanes that made a minister sweat.

ySTANBUL (CyHAN)- During a session of the Constitutional Court, which had convened to deliver its final judgment on shutting down dershanes, Court President ZE-htE- Arslan asked Education Minister Nabi Avcy the following question: "There are 1.05 million high school graduates seeking placement in universities. If dershanes are closed, how will they receive educational assistance?" In response, Avcy referred to public education centers, but Pak Education and Science Employees Union (Pak Ey-itim-yE-) lawyer Mehmet Kasap then raised another question: "You will need 200,000 classrooms for this. How will you do that?" Avcy, angry at the question, said he did not want to respond.

The quality of a statesman is determined when they are asked hard questions. Avcy is gambling with the future of our children without preparing answers to many other questions similar to this one. The changes in the system without proper planning and deliberations negatively affect school children. Students and parents will spend the entire summer trying to deal with the repercussions of these unplanned changes.

The ministry has yet to have a scandal-free year with the placement and examination system, one of its routine duties. Last year, fixing the huge mistake of placing students in schools far away from their homes took a very long time. This year, a number of problems have been detected in the centralized exams. It appears the real problem will be in the enrollment process. The ministry is not implementing a decision by the Council of State to bring back school principals previously removed by the ministry. A number of schools still do not have principals because the ministry is not complying with the ruling.

All the stakeholders in the education system are paying the price for obsessed ideological moves. Despite this, the ministry insists on implementing its flawed decisions, including shutting down dershanes. I wrote a column on this issue when it first became a matter of debate. Everyone would be grateful if you would just deal with the root cause of the problem. When there is no need for such institutions, they will dismantle themselves. There are still exams held in a multiple choice format. There is a dire need for them, but dershanes have been closed down. Why? The magic phrase here is "dealing with the parallel structure." This is a useful pretext for covering up all illegalities and failures in the state administration.

What did they promise in the first place? They argued there would be no need for dershanes. The result is a failure. Dershanes were to be converted into private schools. Not even 10 percent went through this transformation. On the contrary, public schools are being transformed into private teaching institutions to ensure that students are able to enter colleges. They argued parents would not have to pay for their children's preparatory classes. Well, parents now have to pay even more. The number of schools transformed into private teaching institutions will increase by five to six times. Only the rich will be able to afford private tutoring. Even public schools are asking large amounts of money for weekend courses. They argued no one would face any serious victimization. A total of 60,000 teachers lost their jobs.

Let us go back to the session in the Constitutional Court. One union representative asked: "I have a mentally retarded child. Where should I send him if these institutions are closed?" Ministry of Education Undersecretary Yusuf Tekin said: "Parents are allowed to use one private course. But if they use more than one, we will not allow that." So we have an undersecretary who believes there are institutions that offer one course and that this would be a reasonable investment.

Could Court President Arslan ask Minister Avcy this: Is he aware that the students who are now unable to prepare for the exam will enroll in departments they actually do not like? Well, this is a naive question in such a hostile environment. But Arslan should at least ask this question to the rapporteur who invented a justification suggesting that dershanes can be shut down like casinos were: What is the common denominator between those who are not allowed to gamble and those who are not allowed to take a math course?

BE[pounds sterling]LENT KORUCU (Cihan/Today's Zaman) CyHAN

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Publication:Cihan News Agency (CNA)
Date:Jul 11, 2015
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