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Opposition questions YEuK decision to close low-demand science programs.

ySTANBUL (CyHAN)- An opposition deputy has questioned a decision of the Higher Education Board (YEuK) to close natural science programs in state universities that accepted less than 11 students in the relevant programs last year, asking the effect of the decision on primary school education in the future.

In a parliamentary question to Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoy-lu on Wednesday, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) lawmaker Umut Oran said a total of 36 universities' chemistry departments, 31 universities' physics departments, 22 universities' biology departments and seven universities' mathematics departments will not accept students in the 2015-2016 academic year and that the number of natural science departments at state universities will be reduced from 241 to 145 because of YEuK's decision to close natural science programs in state universities that accepted less than 11 students in 2014.

Oran questioned if the decision to close natural science departments and for universities not to provide physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics education does not affect the education of future generations of primary school students, as graduates of the university programs would usually go on to teach these students, and questioned why the government did not take measures to increase the popularity of natural sciences among student candidates instead of closing the departments that provided tuition on the subject.

Oran also recalled President Recep Tayyip Erdoy-an's remarks in September 2014, which criticized the European Court of Human Right's (ECtHR) decision for Turkey to remove compulsory religion courses and asked whether is there any connection between Erdoy-an's remarks on the court ruling and YEuK's recent decision.

In remarks on Sept. 29, 2014, Erdoy-an had argued that compulsory religion courses should not be a matter of debate, just like the required teaching of mathematics or physics in schools around the world is never a matter of discussion.

"The decision is a wrong one because there is no such practice in the West," he said. "You cannot see anywhere in the world that compulsory courses on mathematics, physics or chemistry are being made a subject of debate. But for some reason, classes on religious culture and morality are always a subject of debate," he had said.

Oran's parliamentary question came after YEuK President Yekta Sarac's reported remarks on Monday, announcing that YEuK is planning to decrease the number of university programs that had a decline in demand for the next academic year. Biology, physics, chemistry and mathematics departments rank among the top departments that failed to fulfill their student quotas despite the quota decreasing since 2010.

(Cihan/Today's Zaman) CyHAN

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Publication:Cihan News Agency (CNA)
Date:Apr 29, 2015
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