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Turkish Education System Through the Eyes of High School Students

It turns out that I wandered far away and missed what was in front of my eyes; my sister when I was thinking about how I can improve ÜtopÇa, how I can increase its members of readers, how I can create a more collaborative learning environment. While I was sitting with her friends, I thought I'd get out of the sister image and pretend to be an educator and start a conversation, and I was surprised at how much she had to say. I told them to write! Pour yourself out! As the Utopça representatives of our high school Turkish students, I gave them something that is not often given, Freedom of Speech. I share it with you as it is, without changing a single word. Let's start:

Anıl Gümüş, 17, 11th Grade Student at İstanbul Erkek High School

Hello everyone! I am Anıl. I am an 11th grade student at Istanbul Erkek High School. First of all, I would like to point out that I am not a student who has fully experienced the Turkish education system at the moment, due to the connection of my school with the German Government. But that does not mean that I have nothing to say about our education system. Even my school, with its location and connection with the Ministry of National Education, has its share of the Turkish education system. Also, I have something to say about our education system, like other young people at my age, due to my primary and secondary education in these lands. Having a good command of both education systems will enable me to make a comparison between these two systems.

As in almost every other subject, the most important factor in an education system is very clear to me: stability. The continuity of any system allows that system to settle and people to get used to that system. I think it would be appropriate at this point to exemplify what I mean with the German examination system. That is to say, today's German youth settle in universitieswith the same examination system as Albert Einstein (1879-1955) went through. The young people we are talking about are the greatest engineers of the present and the future, and Albert Einstein is the greatest physicist to have lived in the past century. When we do this analysis ourselves, it is not difficult to see that the system in our country is far from stability. Curriculums that are not constantly updated, and exams that are new every year are the only indicators of these. The number of those among us who have reached the position they are in with the same examination system, even with their younger brother or older brother, is very, very small. After all, no student deserves to risk their future to try a new system. In addition, changes in the system make it difficult for students to adapt. To summarize briefly, I think that the trial-and-error method in our education system should be abandoned and stability should be ensured in the system.

Playing with education is playing with the future of the youth, which is clearly a threat to the future of the country.

As long as this is the case in our country, some young minds who cannot get what they deserve will unfortunately lose. Solution of the problem,

the tree is not cut by pruning; if the problem is not in the branch of the tree, but in the root.

Seven Dökümcüoğlu, 17, 11th Grade Student at İstanbul Erkek High School

Hello, dear readers of Ütopça, today, at the request of my Çağıl sister, I will talk about a subject that I really want to talk about, and this is the education system of Turkey. If you ask me, people become conscious of something when they go to high school, and including me, they realize the realities of the Turkish education system. I realized when I went to high school. As a matter of fact, when I was in primary and secondary school, the education system did not seem to me as a wrong or an issue that needed to be corrected at all, so I was happy. Maybe it's because I went to primary and secondary school in a private school. If I have to look at the issue from an objective point of view, I think the biggest problem is the education inequality between a child studying in Istanbul and a child studying in Diyarbakır.

hundreds or even thousands of children cannot bring out the ore in them.

As for the parts of the event that will affect me, the biggest obstacle ahead is the inconsistency of the education.

Do you think a test system that changes every year is really to test our knowledge or to use us as lab rats?

-the people who change this system will become professionals(!)-. I can give you hundreds of reasons to prove that the education system is really wrong here: Inequality of opportunity in Turkey, the lack of financial infrastructure in education, the fact that there is a section that thinks education is just memorization, efforts to attract students to subjects outside of their interests, religion is included in education, weekly lessons. The inconsistency of their numbers, the fact that the history curriculum talks about centuries ago rather than our national history, and perhaps most importantly, the thought that we can forget science and our ancestors from the curriculum, unfortunately, are attitudes that spoil the education system of my beautiful country.

Ceyda Kutluluk, 17, 11th Grade Student at İstanbul Erkek High School

Since the school I am currently studying teaches us the German curriculum with German teachers, I think I should compare the Turkish system that I have been seeing for all these years with the German system. First of all, the biggest difference between the two education systems is that one of them contains a lot of subjects and is based on memorization, while the other contains visibly less subjects, but it's based on research, on really thinking about it and using the learned information in different ways. If you ask which is a more effective education method, I can't say "the most suitable one for both of them, nothing learned is forgotten again".

The information learned with the German system is more permanent, especially in the exams, as it is blended with information from daily life and directed to think about it.

I think, every year, millions of people enter the university exam in order to graduate from a good department and have a profession. The subjects studied for this exam are too many, perhaps to astonish a German. So many people are competing with each other, who learn and work on all the subjects. However, those subjects that people once studied and memorized down pat are forgotten in the blink of an eye, because they are not adapted to daily life, perhaps because they are memorized in an "empty" way. My wish is for the Turkish education system to come to a better place,

avoiding memorization logic and making this information useful in all areas of life by not forgetting that educators teach a subject "why" and students learn that subject "why".

Ece Taşkın, 17, 11th Grade Student at İstanbul Erkek High School

Children have unlimited dreams in kindergarten and primary school. They want to hold on to the kite and fly, to see the planets, to dig up the sand in the park to the middle of the world, to make the real cars they play in. Children have dreams of profession. They want to be a veterinarian who saves dogs, a fast football player, a flexible ballerina. A variety of thoughts have common points: They are productive, useful, and most importantly, happy.

The education system exists to help them achieve these dreams,

in order to make astronauts who want to see planets, designers and engineers who want to build cars. However, the chaos of preparing for exams from the 5th grade makes students forget their dreams and drag them into a competition, parents, private teaching institutions focus on the highest score for the university and high school exams. A student with a low score is preparing for the exam again without being asked what s/he wants, and those with a high score do not know which profession to do. The system only produces unhappy students and new employees who do not like their jobs.

After a while, those big dreams give way to the desire for a job, a salary and a quiet life.

All motivation is lost because of exams, ambitions.

Think of an education system, students have not lost their dreams, their productivity and creativity are important. Mind games are solved, not test books, astronomy books are read, coding is learned, students can improve their skills and do what they love. An education system where students are happy, productive, creative, and not suppressed.

Itır Ataç, 16, 11th Grade Student at İstanbul Erkek High School

Hello, I'm Itır. I'm the sister of Çağıl Ataç, the founder of Ütopça. Before I start, I should point out that I cannot give any advice on how to improve the Turkish education system or say what is missing. I just want to share the troubles I had as a student in Turkey.

After graduating from primary and secondary school in a private school, I entered a public high school, which is considered one of the best schools in Turkey. The biggest problem started here. While I was still in the preparatory class, I started to feel the “future anxiety” that I had never felt before. I was applying the program given by my guidance teacher in secondary school. I memorized all the questions. There was no longer a question that I did not know or could not solve. I went to high school. Neither the teachers who tell us many times until we understand, nor the guidance counselors who guide… I have finished the tenth grade and am moving on to the eleventh grade. I have always earned the success I have achieved so far with my own efforts. And I realized that

my achievements in middle school weren't really mine. So which system is correct? None if you ask me.

Because I wasn't ready for life in middle school, and that posed a problem that I still suffer from.

I didn't know how to work on my own.

In high school, I got lost because there was no one to guide me. And now I have two years left for my university exam. Yes, two huge years. But the future scares me already.

What job do I want? What profession am I inclined to? Can I practice this profession in Turkey? Can I make enough money? So can I be happy?

I am sure that many of my peers like me have thousands of questions like this running through their minds. Those who have the opportunity go to countries with much better education. This is also an option. And obviously the more sensible option. Maybe our hearts do not allow us to leave Turkey, but we do not want to endanger our future.

I hope that one day, modern, Kemalist, innovative education systems will replace the constantly changing education systems without being measured and weighed.

Berk Ege Toplu, 17, Robert College

When it comes to the education system in Turkey, the most important issue that comes to mind for both students, parents and teachers is the grades of the students.

These grades affect the lives of us students more than they should.

Due to exam techniques that measure whether students memorize simple information or not, students spend their days trying to memorize simple formulas instead of going out and socializing. The reason why this exam system is ineffective in affecting students' lives is that we forget important information from other courses while memorizing for an exam. Due to the memorization changes from lesson to lesson, at the end of a school year, students do not have a single information about the first exams in their minds, while the information in the most important question of the last exam remains in their minds for ten days. However, unlike this memorization-based exam system, students

If students are encouraged to combine their imagination and creativity with the information in the lessons, students' knowledge and success levels increase with desire and fun, unlike the memorization system.

With the knowledge and success rate depending on demand and entertainment, schools graduate much more conscious and happy individuals compared to the current system.

As educators and parents, we constantly read, discuss and share, but we ignore them and their ideas, experiences and feelings in this process. While we have thousands of ideas about their lives, their concerns for the future and the pressure created by the Turkish education system, and therefore by parents and educators, are fueling the desire of them and many intellectuals like them to leave Turkey. I hope that the voices of Utopça's high school-age Turkish student representatives will reach the authorities of this country and those who turned this country into something else, and will develop the authorities in order to correct the mistakes and eliminate the deficiencies. We wish you a hopeful future with happy children.


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