Turkish EDUCATION SYSTEM

Turkish education system is under the supervision and control of the state, namely the Ministry of National Education. According to the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey, everyone has the right to receive education. Education is compulsory from ages 6 to 14 and free in state schools. The country’s primary schools currently have a 98 percent participation rate.

The academic year in Turkish education institutions generally begins in the mid-September or early October and continues to May or early June. There is also a two-week winter break in February.




PRE-SCHOOL EDUCATION: Pre-Primary education is an optional education for children between 3-5 years of age who are under the age of compulsory primary education. The purpose of this education is to ensure physical, mental and sensory development of children and the acquisition of good habits, to prepare children for primary education, to create a common atmosphere of growth for those living in inconvenient circumstances and to ensure that Turkish is spoken correct and well. Pre-school education is given in kindergartens, daycare homes, nursery classes in primary schools, and in private nurseries, all under the supervision of the Ministry. They are usually concentrated in larger towns and cities.


PRIMARY SCHOOL EDUCATION: With a new Law in 2012, four years of Elementary school + four years of Middle school is compulsory today, followed by four years of compulsory high school education (makes a total of 12 years compulsary education). Primary education is compulsory for all boys and girls at the age of 5,5, and is given free of charge in public schools. These schools provide eight (4+4) years of education. There are also private (and paid) schools under State control. In most of the primary schools, foreign language lessons start from 4th class. Most elementary school students dress similarly in a type of uniform to avoid any social class differences between rich and poor students. If the children fails to pass the class, he/she has to repeat the same class next year. At the end of 8 years, successful students go for the Secondary education for 4 more years.

The purpose of the primary education is to ensure that every child acquires the basic knowledge, skills, behaviors, and habits to become a good citizen, is raised in line with the national moral concepts and is prepared for life and for the next education level parallel to his/her interests and skills


SECONDARY SCHOOLS: 4 years of High School (Lise), or Vocational High School education, 15-17/18 years of age. Some schools might have an additional year of language study. High schools are mostly owned by the government and provide free education. Secondary education is compulsory for four years and covers general, vocational and technical high schools (Lycees, Lise in Turkish) that provide four years of education (used to be 3 years until 2005).

General high schools prepare students for higher learning institutions. Some of the secondary schools and the private secondary schools have foreign language preparatory classes. This kind of private lycees have double language education (such as Italian Highschool, German Highschool, Austrian Highschool, French Highschool, and so on).

Vocational and technical high schools provide specialized instruction with the aim of training qualified personnel.

The purpose of secondary education is to give students a minimum common culture, to identify individual and social problems, to search for solutions, to raise awareness in order to contribute to the socio-economic and cultural development of the country and to prepare the students for higher education, for profession, for life and for business in line with their interests and skills.


In addition to normal high schools, there are also evening high schools usually operating in the same school building. These are designed to allow those who take up employment after primary (or middle school) to continue their formal education.

Most of the high schools are owned by the State and provide free educational opportunities. In order to provide equal opportunities for the children with limited finances, there are State high schools with boarding facilities. These schools are free of charge and the students are placed according to the results of an examination. There are also many private high schools, which are paid by the parents, of course.

Graduates of the high schools can attend universities if they can pass admission exams.


HİGHER EDUCATİON: 4 years of University, or 2 years at Higher Vocational Schools. Some schools have an additional year of language study. Under normal circumstances, Master’s study lasts 2 years; PhD 3-5 years. This category includes all educational institutions which will provide post-secondary education. They are under the supervision of Higher Educational Council (YOK).




Public High Schools: Any student who successfully completes 8 years of basic education can go onto these schools. Graduates of public high schools, if successful in the nationwide University Entrance Examination (ÖSS), can go onto higher education institutions. Graduates are awarded with the Lise Diploması.

Vocational High Schools: Some of these schools may take an additional year to complete. Graduates can automatically go on to higher vocational schools (Meslek Yüksek Okulları – 2 Year Vocational Colleges) in their respective fields of study if they wish. Alternatively, if successful in the university entrance examination, they can go onto 4-year schools in their respective fields.

Anatolian High Schools : One year of English study followed by 3 years of regular high school education, additional hours for English. Math and Science lessons at these schools are sometimes taught in English. Lessons at some Anatolian high schools are taught in either German or French.

Super High Schools : The difference between these and normal high schools is one extra year of English study. They differ from Anatolian high schools in that the language of instruction for math and science courses is always Turkish and less hours are given to English lessons.

Science High Schools : These are special public schools for students who have exceptional aptitude in the sciences. These very competitive high schools train students specifically for higher education in the sciences, technical and medical fields. There is also Anatolian Science High Schools (Anadolu Fen Liseleri), where the medium of instruction for math and sciences is sometimes in English.

Private High Schools : Most private high schools charge very high tuition fees and are very competitive.


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