Organizational structure of the upper secondary education in Turkey is based on certain school types as a part of compulsory education. These are General Secondary Schools that are categorized as Science High Schools, High School of Social Sciences, Anatolian High Schools, High Schools of Fine Arts and High School of Sports (ISCED 3). All these upper secondary institutions offer four-year educational period. In addition to the general secondary schools, the cycle of upper secondary education includes “Vocational and Technical Schools”. Typically, these schools include Vocational and Technical High Schools, Multi-program High Schools, Vocational Training Centers as well as Fine Arts High Schools and Sports High Schools. While general secondary schools are operated by the General Directorate of Secondary Education, vocational and technical schools are affiliated to General Directorate of Vocational and Technical Education. In addition, "Anatolian Religious High Schools"; religious services are implemented in the secondary school system.
These major superordinate school types (general versus technical/vocational) provide a face-to-face, school-based education for four years, depicting the major organizational variations within the compulsory secondary education in Turkey. An alternative structure for schooling during this cycle is the Open Education School system that offers a four-year distance education. This alternative organizational structure is offered to the students under certain conditions.
An Alternative Structure: Open Education Schools
Students older than 18 years can enroll in Open Education High Schools and Vocational Open Education High Schools. However, this age limit is not sought for those who have not given up on their education, but at the end of the 22-year school year, the students who are not graduated from the school will be transferred to open education institutions or vocational training centers. However, this provision is not applicable to vocational training centers students.
Open Education Secondary Schools offer a distance education system. In this alternative structure, students pass or fail courses, not years; thus, it is a credit-based system. Students who leave formal education apply for the open education schools. In Open Education Secondary Schools, there exists the term educational term instead of educational year. Students can get graduated upon the completion of the course credits at the end of the 8th term. There is no class repetition or expelling from the school in open education. As long as the students renew their registration, they can keep their education until they complete the required courses. In addition, students of Open Education Secondary School hold all legislative rights that formal education students possess during their education.
Open Vocational Education Secondary Schools
As a distance upper secondary educational institution, Open Vocational Education Secondary Schools was initiated on 02.02.2006 with the approval of the Ministry under the auspices of the General Directorate of Educational Technologies. With regards to the curriculum exploited in the Open Vocational Education Secondary Schools, the contents and courses are similar to the formal educational version; however, it is a unique school in terms of its structure, organization and function. The term-based credit system is utilized in this schools and the courses are run based on the norms of distance education.
Open Education Imam Orator Secondary Schools
As a distance upper secondary educational institution, Open Education Imam Orator Secondary Schools was initiated on 02.02.2006 with the approval of the Ministry. Initially these schools were placed under Open Education Secondary Schools. Then on 23.03.2017, Open Education Imam Orator Secondary Schools served under the Open Vocational Education Secondary Schools. With regards to the curriculum exploited in the Open Education Imam Orator Secondary Schools, the contents and courses are similar to the formal educational version; however, it is a unique school in terms of its structure, organization and function. The term-based credit system is utilized in this schools and the courses are run based on the norms of distance education. However, some of the practice-oriented courses, called Field Courses, are provided face-to-face at weekends or after completion of the formal education courses in schools.