“We have relegated a monolithic and repressive mindset in the education system in the pages of history. We have achieved a more free and democratic system,” Erdoğan said at a conference at Istanbul’s prestigious Kabataş High School on Sept. 18, marking the beginning of the new education year.
“We demonstrated the determination that the previous governments should have shown. We never avoided taking responsibility by saying the system was always bad. We made deep-rooted reforms,” he added.
He said “grand projects” initiated by the AKP, namely the Fatih Project and the 4+4+4 system shift — a change in the length of compulsory education in primary, middle and high schools — had faced “resistance” from opposition groups.
“The resistance came from those who wanted to make education a tool in ideological clashes,” he said.
The president said that during the AKP’s 16-year rule, 605,450 teachers were appointed, a pressing issue for many public school teachers who await appointment from the state every year.
“We have built 288,000 classrooms in 81 cities, making the number of our classrooms 575,000. With the Fatih Project, we installed electronic boards in 433,000 classrooms. We set up 2,084 electronic libraries,” he said.
“We promised families that we would provide school books to students, who would later find them on their desks in classrooms at the start of the school year,” he said.
He said the biggest problem children faced today in classrooms was their difficulty concentrating, which he believed was because “Turkey is under serious international siege.”