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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Initial education for teachers working in early childhood and school education


9.Teachers and education staff

9.1Initial education for teachers working in early childhood and school education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Institutions, Education Models and Levels

Pre-service teacher education of pre-school teachers, primary and secondary teachers are carried out by tertiary teacher education programs. The major source of teacher education is the faculties of education. All of the teacher education programs last four years. In addition, Teaching Profession Knowledge Master's Programs without Thesis will be opened in order to provide pedagogical formation for those who graduated from departments other than the faculty of education that constitute a resource for teaching. Council of Higher Education is the only administrative body that designs the teacher education programs. In this process, the Ministry of National Education also cooperates with the faculties of education. In 2018, all of the teacher education programs begun to offer "special education" course.

With the organization actualized in 2006-2007 academic year, all of the teacher education programs (including music, physical education, painting, and foreign languages education) included a ‘special education’ course. Universities are able to offer further -courses or criteria but those cannot be at a lower standard.

22th and 33th Articles of the Law of Council of Higher Education set the minimum criteria and work conditions of the faculty staff as well as their employment and promotion standards. Universities may dictate further criteria to those standards, but not at a lower criterion.

Pre-service teacher education models, institutions and duration are as follows: Pre-service teacher education has been carried out at universities since 1982. The major model of teacher education in Turkey is concurrent model and the major institutions are faculties of education. Within this model, general knowledge, field knowledge and teaching practicum are offered in the program. In addition to this program, Pedagogic Formation Training Program is offered, initially to the graduates of faculties of science and letters, and teacher education is also actualized accordingly. In addition to this model, teacher training was also provided through the "Pedagogical Formation Education Certificate Program" organized for graduates of other faculties, especially the graduates of science and literature faculties.

Admission Requirements

Access to all higher education institutions in Turkey is regulated by Article 45 of the Law on Higher Education 2547. Accordingly, it is necessary to have a high school diploma for admission to higher education institutions. Higher education entrance examination center is done twice a year by OSYM, Higher Education Institutions Examionation (TR:YKS). This examination offers three stages, which are Basic Competency Test (TR: TYT), Field Competency Test (TR: AYT) and Foreign Language Test (TR: YDT). All of the candidates are to take TYT, but the rest are optional. Candidates are placed in the higher education entrance examination to higher education institutions. This system applies to all faculties of education according to their scores and their preferences, and school grade points. There is an exception to this practice: Teacher training programs accepting students with an aptitude examination (art, music, physical education and sports). Each faculty of education admits students by aptitude exams in addition to the points TYT. The regulations relating to special aptitude test are determined by the faculties and colleges. 

Curriculum, Fields of Expertise and Learning Outcomes

In pre-service teacher education, the duration for the teaching profession courses (theoretical and practical) composes the 25-30% of the total program, for both primary and secondary level teacher education programs. Teacher candidates appointed for all of the education cycles, pre-school, primary and secondary, are to go through a ‘candidate teacher’ process at least for a year and at most for two years. Candidate teachers may serve in cities different than their appointment city. They are subjected to 654 hours of cultivation in the period they are appointed and two periods of performance evaluation at the same time. Candidate teachers have to work at least for a year and complete the performance assessment process successfully, and then they become eligible for the oral and written exam. Those who successfully complete this process are appointed as ‘tenured teachers’. The general framework of the candidate teachers was issued in 2014, as follows:

  • Criteria to refer in performance assessment and the processes related to the examinations as well as those for the oral examinations;
  • General regulations concerning the appointment of the tenured teachers and of the unsuccessful teachers as well as the repetition of the examinations;
  • Concerning law depicting the circumstances in which teachers are fired from their posts;
  • The regulation on teachers’ discrediting from the post in case of a failure during candidateship process and examinations even if they worked in an institution covered by 657th Law and completed their candidateship procedures initially.
  • Regulations concerning the establishment of the examination commissions;
  • The concerning Articles of the 657th Law dated 14.07.1965, in which it is stated that completion of the candidateship in state officers does not secure the candidateship in teaching posts;
  • Criteria set to establish examination commissions;
  • Criteria set to construct a running regulation;
  • A temporary 4th Article was added to the above-mentioned law in which it is stated that those regulations shall be applied to those who were employed after the enforcement of the law 6528 put into effect on 14.03.2014.

Special Skills and Expertise

Council of Higher Education has provided autonomy for decision taking concerning the programs of the universities, which includes the establishment of the "Advisory Board for Higher Education Programs and Quality Board of Higher Education". The incentive behind this approach of CoHE is to lead universities to "improve and strengthen institutional capacity"; to this end, universities are expected to invest in human resources, research, educational studies as well as administrative legislations and provisions. This new approach of CoHE is therefore prescribed as the delegation of authority and sharing of authority, the results of which are expected to increase the autonomy of the tertiary institutions in decision making processes concerning education, research and innovation.

Initial studies concerning the undergraduate teacher education programs affiliated to faculties of education can be traced back to the first extensive reform initiatives carried out in 1997-1998 within the framework of the Project of Improving the MoNE, and these studies were extended in further modifications in 2006 and 2009. Later on, based on the needs and expectations of the period, there had been certain improvement, specifically structural modification, were carried out in 2012, during which some amendments were applied to the programs and divisions of faculties of education. New programs were administered in 2018-2019 academic year. In 2018 update, the courses in teacher education programs were defined, similar to the previous classification, under three categories as Field Courses 45-50%, Teaching Profession Courses 30-35%, and General Culture Courses 15-20%.  

The latest approach and thus the philosophy toward teacher education is that CoHE aspires tertiary programs, faculties of education in particular, to develop and administer their own programs by referring to the Teaching Profession Competencies framework of MoNE, to the legislations and regulations concerned. The fact that program design itself is a dynamic and continuous process, the universities are capable of enacting this process independently.

Within this perspective, General Council of the CoHe, in the conference meeting dated 10/08/2020 decided on the following issues concerning development, improvement and administering of teacher education programs in faculties of education:

a) The categorizations of the courses are to be Field Courses, Teaching Profession Courses, and General Culture Courses.  

b) This categorization is to be taken into account in defining the course numbers, course hours and credits as well

Teacher Educators

Teacher educators of all fields are to hold a PhD diploma at faculties of education (including the early childhood education and pre-school), and are educated in graduate programs of universities. Those programs educate teacher educators in field, field education and educational sciences. Graduates of those programs give the courses to the student teachers based on their fields of expertise. In addition, during the practicum session performed in the schools of Ministry of National Education, selected veteran teachers get in touch with the student teachers as mentors.

Qualifications, Evaluation and Certificate

Faculties of Education students; faculty and course of their teaching practice in schools are monitored by teachers and are assessed. Measurement and evaluation of student achievement in the course of the written exams, assignments, portfolio assessment, and observation of teaching performance are carried out this way although the students are obliged to enter at least one midterm and one final exam for each course according to different faculties. In order to graduate, to achieve the projected total loans and teaching practice should be successful from the course. There is also a final exam. In the diplomas, students of the field they graduate (eg, classroom teacher, history teacher, etc.) is specified. Furthermore, together with a diploma transcript (course lists, notes and loans) and ECTS in accordance with "diploma supplement" is given. However, this diploma does not automatically entitle to recruit a teacher. Recruitment requires satisfying the other conditions. From faculties other than the Faculty of Education (eg, science and / or literature faculties) two semi-annual pedagogical training of graduates is held to be able to get the right teacher (1 year). With the abolition of this certificate program, this training will be given through the Teaching Profession Knowledge Master's Program without Thesis.

Alternative Training Pathways

In pre-service teacher education, until 2012, normally conducted in faculties of education (day-full-time) and secondary education (evening programs) in addition to the program, the teacher needs to be very busy "English teacher" and "preschool teacher" for a temporary period of time in the field Anadolu University Open Education Faculty by distance education programs at the undergraduate level. English Teaching Program in the first two years while face to face education, distance education was done in the last two years. It was removed in 2012 and was given the right teaching only graduate faculty of education. In addition, Pedagogic Formation Certificate Program was abolished by the Ministry of National Education in 2020.