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Education

Religious instruction

From the time the Republic was founded, several initiatives concerning religious education have been carried out besides a unified system of education. The aim is to create a religious culture (...)

From the time the Republic was founded, several initiatives concerning religious education have been carried out besides a unified system of education. The aim is to create a religious culture peculiar to the Turkish State, marking a break with former system. In this context, a law on the unification of education throughout the country was voted on 13 March 1924. At the same time, the madrasas (learning centres) existing under the old system were closed down and replaced with 29 "imam and preacher schools". Similarly, a theology faculty was opened at the University of Istanbul.

D 8 October 2012    ASamim Akgönül

Compulsory religious education

Article 24 of the Turkish Constitution states: "Education and instruction in religion and ethics shall be conducted under State supervision and control. Instruction in religious culture and moral (...)

Article 24 of the Turkish Constitution states: "Education and instruction in religion and ethics shall be conducted under State supervision and control. Instruction in religious culture and moral education shall be compulsory in the curricula of primary and secondary schools. Other religious education and instruction shall be subject to the individual’s own desire, and in the case of minors, to the request of their legal representatives".
Only members of the three official minority religions (Greek, Armenian Orthodox, and Jewish) are exempted. On the other hand, young Alevi children are required to follow the Sunni curriculum in school.
Following several reforms which took place in the years 2010, Islam now has a dominant place in public education. The Islamist trend currently in power introduced so-called "elective" courses on the life of the Prophet and other religious matters. Since 2011, approximately one-third of normal secondary schools have been transformed in schools of imams and preachers.

For further information see Nurcan Kaya, Forgotten or assimilated Minorities in the education system of Turkey, Minority Rights Group International, 2009.

D 6 June 2016    ASamim Akgönül

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