General Structure of the Turkish Educational System
The basic structure of the Turkish national education system is outlined in Basic Law on National Education (Law no. 1739). This system can be summarized as fallows:
Pre-school education, which is optional, aims at contributing to the physical, mental and emotional development of the children, to help them acquire good habits, and to prepare them for basic education. Pre-school education institutions include independent kindergartens, nursery classes in primary schools and preparation classes.
Basic education provides children with basic knowledge and ensures their physical, mental and moral development in accordance with national objectives. It generally comprises the education of children in the 6-14 year age group. Eight years of basic education is compulsory for all Turkish citizens who have reached the age of six.This level of education is free of charge in public schools. There are also private schools under state control.
Secondary education encompasses two categories of educational institutions, namely general high schools and vocational and technical high schools (lycées) where a minimum of four years of schooling is implemented after basic education.
The aims of secondary education are to provide students with a knowledge of general culture, to acquaint them with problems of individual and societal nature and to motivate them to find solutions; to instill in them the strength and knowledge to participate in the economic, social and cultural development of the country and to prepare them, in line with their interests and talents, for institutions of higher learning.
General high schools are educational institutions that prepare students for institutions of higher learning. They implement a four-year program over and above basic education, and comprises students in the 15-18 year age group.
Vocational and technical high schools provide specialized instruction with the aim of training qualified personnel.The duration of instruction in these schools is also four years.
Higher education: The purpose of higher education is to train manpower within a system of contemporary educational and training principles to meet the needs of the country. It provides high level specialized education in various fields for students who have completed secondary education. The Higher Education Law (Law no. 2547) which went into effect in 1981, covers all higher education institutions and regulates their organization and functions. Universities comprising several units are established by the state and by law as public corporations having autonomy in teaching and research. Furthermore, institutions of higher education, under the supervision and control of the state, can also be established by private foundations in accordance with procedures and principles set forth in the law provided that they are non-profit in nature.
There is a tuition fee for higher education. However, successful students who lack financial means to continue their education are provided with full support by private individuals and organizations, as well as by the state.
Today, higher education institutions in Turkey fall into three categories: universities, military and police colleges and academies, and vocational schools affiliated with ministries.
The university is the principal higher education institution. It possesses academic autonomy and a public legal personality. It is responsible for carrying out high level educational activities, scientific research and publications. It is made up of faculties, graduate schools, schools of higher education, conservatories, two-year vocational training schools and centers for applied work and research.
A faculty is a higher education unit which is responsible for high level education, as well as for scientific research and publications. Units such as departments, schools of higher education, etc., may be affiliated with a faculty.
A graduate school in universities and in faculties is concerned with graduate study, scientific research and applied studies in more than one related subject area.
A school of higher education is an institution which is mainly concerned with offering instruction directed towards a specific vocation. Examples are the School of Home Economics affiliated with Ankara University and the School of Foreign Languages within Boğaziçi University.
A conservatory is a higher education institution which is concerned with the training of artists in the fields of music and the performing arts.
A two-year vocational training school is a higher education institution established for the purpose of providing vocational education to meet the practical needs of various fields