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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Fundamental principles and national policies


2.Organisation and governance

2.1Fundamental principles and national policies

Last update: 27 November 2023

The basic principles of Turkish national education system under the 1739 numbered National Education Basic Law in 1973 are as follows:

  • To educate citizens of the Republic of Turkey as those who know their duties and responsibilities and act accordingly in accordance with all policies and principles as expressed in the Constitution of Turkey, which is a secular and social law nation,
  • To educate individuals who are constructive, creative and productive, and respectful for human rights with a physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and emotionally balanced and healthy character,
  • To prepare individuals for life by providing them with necessary information to develop capability and the ability, skills, attitudes and by giving them jobs that will make them happy and provide them with a job to contribute to the happiness of society;
  • To improve the welfare and happiness of Turkish citizens and Turkish society; on the other hand, national unity and economic integrity, social and cultural development and to accelerate the contemporary civilization, and finally to make Turkish nation a constructive, creative, and outstanding partner. 

With the Law No 6764 Amending the Decree Law on the Organization and Duties of the Ministry of National Education and Some Laws and Decree Laws. The amendments were made with the National Education Basic Law No. 1739, the Vocational Education Law no. 3308 and the Decree Law No. 652 on the Organization and Duties of the Ministry of National Education and the vocational training centers affiliated to the General Directorate of Lifelong Learning were included in the compulsory education and attached to the General Directorate of Vocational and Technical Education.

The organizational structure of the Ministry of Education was rearranged with the Presidential Decree No. 1 on the Presidential Organization published in the Official Gazette No. 28758 dated 10/7/2018.

222 No. issued Primary Education Act in 1961 is the law that regulates the basic education level of educational services in Turkey. After basic training, non-compulsory preschool education in Turkey includes compulsory primary and secondary stages.

Educating children who have not reached the age of compulsory education is the duty of pre-school educational institutions. They are trained to increase the general knowledge of citizens who did not go to upper grade education institutions and to educate them as better business and productive elements. These institutions can be opened by local governments including municipalities with real legal persons.

Within the scope of the cooperation protocol for primary and secondary school students, with the amendments made in the Law on Private Education Institutions with the Decree Law No. 678 on Dec. 22, 2016 and Law No. 687 on 09.02.2017, the municipalities, provincial directorates of national education and the approval of the Ministry related to the homework and projects of students and courses in which social, cultural, artistic and sportive activities are carried out in accordance with their desires and abilities.

Whereas compulsory education in Turkey before 1997 by Law No. 222 adopted 5 year including primary term, it was changed into the 8-year uninterrupted compulsory primary education in 2012. The change in the nature of reforms in 222 of Law No. 8-year compulsory education was transformed into a continuous 12-year compulsory education stage. The first stage of a 4-year is primary school (1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4thgrade), the second stage of a 4-year is secondary school (5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade) and third stage of a four-year is high school (9, 10, 11 and 12th grade).

Primary education consists of four-year compulsory primary and secondary education to fulfil the purpose as stipulated in 222 numbered Law.

The purpose, scope and principles of the secondary education level are regulated by the Regulation of National Education Basic Law of 1739, No. 222, No. 28 758 Primary and Secondary School Education Act.

In line with the basic principles of general and specific objectives of secondary education institutions and functions of the Turkish national education, it fulfils the democratic understanding of corporate culture, universal law, student-centered, and active learning according to human rights and democracy.

Science High Schools, Social Sciences High Schools, Anatolian High Schools, Fine Arts High Schools and Sports High Schools; It consists of Anatolian Imam Hatip High Schools, Vocational and Technical Anatolian High Schools, Multi-Program Anatolian High Schools and Vocational Education Centers and ARGEM*, in which a special secondary education program is implemented. (Article 6, Regulation on Secondary Education Institutions). In addition, special education vocational high schools that provide vocational and technical education services to students with special education needs can be listed among secondary education institutions.

*Research, Development, Education and Application Center (ARGEM): A center that provides full-time and boarding education services to gifted students, continuing education and training activities within the scope of special education programs determined by the Ministry at primary and secondary education level,

With the amendment made in 2012, secondary school institutions are taken into compulsory education process. With the Law-amendment cabinet decision entitled ‘6764 Law-amendment Cabinet Decision Concerning the Organization and Duties of the Ministry of National Education’, the Vocational Education Centers affiliated to the General Directorate of Life Long Learning were then affiliated to the General Directorate of Vocational and Technical Education and thus become a part of compulsory educational system.

The law can be described as the reform law on vocational and technical training 3308 numbered Vocational Education Law issued in 1986, which constitutes the legal basis for all arrangements. In this area, according to this law, the mesh is applied in all types and levels of vocational and technical education program, vocational training to be in business with extensive training schools and institutions. It makes decisions about issues such as development and evaluation of the programs. In order to carry out all the activities mentioned above, the Council of Vocational Education is established. The Board's decisions are executed by the Ministry and relevant agencies. At a provincial level, the Provincial Employment and Board of Vocational Training is created.

The Vocational Education Board is established with the stakeholders of vocational and technical education in the Ministry. With the Article 193 of Decree Law No. 703 dated 02.07.2018, the Vocational Education Board was amended by the amendment of the Vocational Education Law. Duties of the Board are included in the Law. The Presidency Circular No. 2018/3 and the duties of the Vocational Education Council were given to the Ministry of National Education. The decisions of this Board shall be carried out by the Ministry and the relevant professional organizations. At the provincial level, Provincial Employment and Vocational Education Board is established.

Education services offered to individuals in need of special education  07.07.2005 entered into force on the Law No. 5378,  06.06.1997 entered into force on the date of Decree Law No. 573 and 07.07.2018 entered into force on Special Education Services are regulated by Regulation. In addition, private education and rehabilitation centers provide services to individuals in need of special education within the scope of Law No. 5580.

Period higher education in the Republic Act No. 2252 brought changes in the nature of reforms enacted in May 1933. Enacted in 1869, Education on General Regulations (General Education Code), established in 1870 and opened as Darülfünun Istanbul (University), was abolished and Istanbul University was established instead (Turkish Education History p.326).  On July 1973 Universities Act No. 1750 was issued. The law determines the functions of the university in detail. It summarizes these tasks; to educate students, to conduct scientific research and investigations, to make cooperation with national and international scientific and research institutions and disseminate scientific data to improve the overall level of society. On November 6, 1981 at 2547 higher education structure and functioning of the Higher Education was amended extensively. The law is related to higher purposes and principles of the organization of higher education institutions and its parent organization, the functioning, duties, powers and responsibilities of the education, research, publications, and instructors and regulates issues related to students. In 2547 The Council of Higher Education and Inter University Council are determined as the top law organizations to regulate higher education. Council of Higher Education regulating all tertiary education and steering the activities of tertiary education institutions is an autonomous agency with a public legal entity. Council of Higher Education has the Supervisory Board and relevant units related to planning, research, development, evaluation, budget, investment and coordination. The main functions of the council can be summarized as follows: Ensuring the realization of the fundamental tasks of educational activities of the Board, raising the needed lecturers, effectively to keep under the supervision and control of the provision of universities use of allocated resources to higher education institutions in determining the policies and the goals of unification and integration, continuous, harmonious and improving cooperation. The Interuniversity Council is an academic body created by the law. The duties of the Board are as follows. To coordinate scientific research and extension activities, assess applications, to make recommendations to the university and Higher Education Council, to propose measures to meet the needs of the faculty members of universities, and to do work related to scientific research and publishing activities in the framework of the higher education. Regulations relating to higher education institutions and higher education institutions exist in the 1982 Constitution (Articles 130 and 131). In these articles; public entity having and scientific autonomy will be established by law by the University of the State, by a foundation with the condition of not for-profit boards of higher education institutions, In the article, it explains how Board Members of the Council of Higher Education and rectors are appointed.

To develop policies in education and training and to ensure that activities are carried out within the scope of the plan and program; Presidential Program, Presidency Annual Program, Presidential Education and Education Policy Board proposals, development plans, New Economy Program (YEP) in accordance with the Medium Term Program, 2023 Vision in Education, development plans, strategic plans are prepared and National Education Councils are organized.

Development Plans: The planned development period in Turkey commenced after 1963. Recently the Ninth Development Plan has been completed (2007-2013), and the Tenth Development Plan has been in effect (2014-2018). In those development plans of the government, a separate section is devoted to the ‘education’ title.

Following policy regarding education in the Tenth Development Plan is given.

  • Quality-oriented transformation will continue based on individuals who develop their personality and capabilities, strengthening compliance with the labor market in the context of lifelong learning approach, and equality of opportunity.
  • Quality-oriented transformation where school types are reduced, flexible transitions between programs are made, there are more places of artistic and cultural activities for students.  Furthermore, it will be not an exam-oriented. A conversion program that considers individual differences will be implemented.
  • Preschool education opportunities will be increased in that there will be more access to restricted areas and household that support social, mental, emotional and physical development of students.
  • Access to schools of all children including girls and disabled will be made possible and school drop-outs and repeats will decrease.
  • Human and physical infrastructure will be strengthened to provide people with disabilities who need special education and gifted individuals with training in appropriate environments in line with the integration of training.
  • Foreign Language training will begin at an early age, a good degree of learning arrangements will be provided for at least one foreign language of individuals.
  • The interaction between faculties of education and schools will be strengthened; teacher training and development system, qualification of teachers and students based on personal and professional development will be organized in a structure that promotes continuous development.
  • Powers and responsibilities of the school board in the budgeting process will be increased.
  • Alternative financing models in education will be developed. Private sectors will be encouraged to open educational institutions, and active participation of private sector and vocational training will be encouraged in the process of administrative and financial aspects of the organization.
  • Infrastructure of information and communication technology will be developed in formal and informal educational institutions. Competencies of students and teachers in the use of such technologies will be increased. Fatih Project will be complete and impact assessment will be done by developing qualitative and quantitative indicators on education and technology integration
  • By creating education and training programs, the National Qualifications Framework will be updated based on national occupational standards and diploma and certification system including the recognition of prior learning, supporting the validity of national and international student mobility will be developed.
  • Higher Education System will be transformed into a competitive structure on the basis of accountability, autonomy, performance-oriented, quality-oriented specialization and diversity policies.
  • Higher Education institutions will be diversified and the higher education system will become a center of attraction for international students and faculty members.

2023 Education Vision: The aim of the 2023 Education Vision, which was announced to the public with a wide participation on 23 October 2018 is to educate individuals of equipped with the skills of this equipment and humanity, the love of science, culture, curiosity and sensitive, qualified, moral, to train individuals. Because of Turkey's problems with education and access to substantial quantities movement left behind it primarily focuses qualitative improvements. In the vision, a method that aims to design all the sub-components of the system simultaneously is emphasized as an ecosystem. Establishing a goal-structure-behavior relationship that takes into account the individual differences of the learner at all levels of education, gaining identity according to the conditions of the age, memorizing and ensuring the availability of knowledge and skills in all areas of life by being away from repetition are the points in question.

The part of the 2023 Education Vision, which can be considered a future orientation, is structured as the activities related to these themes and targets related to these themes in the 19 themes. Themes are as follows; data-based management, measurement and evaluation, human resource development and management, financing of schools, supervision and institutional guidance services, guidance and psychological counseling, special education, special skills, foreign language education, digital content and skill-supported transformation in learning processes, Early childhood, primary education, secondary education, science and social sciences high schools, imam hatip secondary schools and high schools, vocational and technical education, private education and lifelong learning.

Establishing design and skill workshops that will enable children to acquire life skills according to their interests and abilities, increasing the time between courses, choosing courses that are appropriate for their interests through increasing elective courses, decreasing the differences between schools and regions are some actions mentioned in in 2023 Education Vision. All actors involved in children's learning will be provided with the establishment of “School Development Model” in which school development studies are carried out, and the appropriate planning, monitoring and evaluation processes and schools will be developed in accordance with the basic policies and expectations of the 2023 Education Vision and their conditions and priorities.

Strategic plan: It is defined as "the public administration of the medium and long term objectives, principles and policies, objectives and priorities, performance criteria, plan that includes methods and allocation of resources to be followed to achieve them" in Law No. 5018. The Ministry of National Education prepared the first strategic plan for 2010- 2014 and implemented it. Ministry of National Education Strategic Plan 2015-2019 has been prepared in light of regulatory and senior policy document. As part of this plan; to ensure that all members of the education and training get access to education under fair conditions, to educate all individuals with knowledge of the age required for skills, entrepreneurial attitudes and high language skills, and good communication skills. Likewise, they are trained to be open to learning, self-confident and responsible to grow as healthy and happy individuals to provide opportunities, human, financial, physical and access to education by improving the structure and management of the technological infrastructure and training that will improve the quality of the effective and efficient functioning institutional structures with a view to establishing strategic goals.

National Education Council: The purpose of steering the proposals presented and discussed in a broad sense and organizations and the Turkish Education System, National Education Council for the first time regulated by law studies were collected in 1939. Finally, 19th Council (2014) is in the nature of the advisory body of the Ministry, and the decision is not binding, guiding and suggestive to the Ministry.

The organizational structure of the Ministry of Education was adopted in 1926. Subsequently, it was restructured with 789 numbered Law on Organization of the Ministry of Education enacted in 2011 and organized by the 652 Ministry of National Education of the Organization and Duties. Lastly, it was regulated by the No. 1 Presidential Decree dated 10.07.2018. According to this decree. According to this law, the Ministry of National Education 'central organization,' 'provincial organization,' 'international organizations' and 'service units' have been created from four sections. The central organization of the Ministry includes Ministerial Office, the Board of Education, service units, and the units which help with counseling and supervision units. As the provincial organization, there is each province and one district national education directorate. The Law authorized the Ministry to establish foreign organizations.