The state should go back to the village with the schools!

When the republic was declared, there were 40 thousand villages in Turkey. Most of the villages in our southeastern Anatolia region were evacuated after 1984 to leave no living space for the PKK. The people living here migrated to the cities. Before the adoption of Metropolitan Law in 2012, the number of villages and towns was approximately 36,000, and the population of the village was 17.2 million. But when this law was passed, the number of villages and towns increased overnight to 8,608 and the population of the village came down to 6 million 634 thousand.

When thousands of villages and towns evaporated, the number of students in village schools, which was 30 lakh 275 thousand, decreased to 623,000. Of the total students, only 623 thousand (3.44%), which is still around 18 million, study in villages. In all the villages 6,200 village schools are open for education. Schools in other villages closed for education!

Under the AKP regime, the process of closing village schools on the grounds of declining student population accelerated. Busted education, which was introduced in the 1989–1990 academic year, was expanded. After some time, bussed education became a major source of income. As mobile education became widespread, village schools closed their doors.

According to Dr. Sakin Onor, one of the respected education experts of our country; Taking primary school children from their homes early in the morning to schools miles away can provide neither psychological, educational, nor health, nor equal educational opportunities. Most transferred schools do not have cafeterias! There are many problems here, from food and drink to cleanliness. Since most of their time is spent on the streets, these children do not have time to relax, have fun, play and socialize. This practice, shaped only by cost factors, continues to be a negative practice that lowers the quality of education and hinders the academic adaptation of children.

Today 1 lakh 220 thousand students are transported from villages to districts and provinces through education. In such a situation, it seems that 1 lakh 500 thousand students have disappeared! Where did these students go? The mass of 1 lakh 500 thousand students who disappeared are children of peasant families who moved to the cities. Most of these people who have migrated from villages, live in slums, suburbs, settlements with various problems and troubles which we call as urban countryside.

As a result of the migration of the young population to the cities, the elderly population remained in the villages. Villages, which were inhabited areas of agriculture and animal husbandry, gradually became places where there was no production. Agriculture and animal husbandry came to an end. When the schools were closed, the spiritual light of the villages went out. The closure of village schools was the second major setback for the education of village children after the abolition of village institutions.

When village schools closed, teachers from villages went back, schools and housing were in ruins. With the closure of schools, the state has lost its hand from the village. Because the farmer’s school saw the state when it saw the teacher. Every Friday and Monday when the national anthem was sung by the students under the shade of the Turkish flag, a symbol of our independence, the villagers felt the presence of the state. Because the village school was a common living place not only for the teachers and students, but also for all the villagers. All the needs of the school, especially cleanliness, repair, fuel and security were met by the villagers through imes. So all the villagers took ownership of the school. Because the villagers were watching the national anthem, folk songs, folk songs, theater and national holidays and breathing the national culture and spirit there.

From the first years of the republic until the 1980s, teachers working in village schools trained not only their students. He continued his education outside class hours, teaching reading and writing to illiterate village elders. He used to teach tarrana, pickles, tomato paste, jam making, sewing, embroidery and home economics lessons to the youth of the village. Village teachers were people whom the villagers consulted about matters they did not know. At the same time, teachers were role models for both their students and villagers for their clothing, speech, manners and behaviour. Teachers were the representatives of republican enlightenment. Hence the teachers were the most respected persons in the villages.

The aim of the republic’s education policy was to start development from the village. Most of the population lived in villages. The citizens of the city lived on the products produced by the villagers. But till then they were not changed, they did not get proper education. Only the children of the city got the opportunity to get education. Seeing this fact Ataturk said, “The farmer is the master of the nation,” and placing the plow on the sword made the villagers the most respected citizens of society. The republican administration attached great importance to the education of village children and villagers by opening village education courses, training trainers and finally establishing village institutions.

While Turkey was one of the seven self-sufficient countries in agricultural products, today it has transformed into a country that imports wheat, barley and even straw from abroad. It is possible to re-develop agriculture and animal husbandry, increase production and give importance to the village and the villagers. The first step for this should be the reopening of village schools. Only in this way can equality of opportunity in education be regained.

National Education Minister Mahmut Ozer announced that in early May 2022, closed village schools would be reopened for education. He said that under the ambit of the project, activities like mass education courses and summer camps would be organized in rural schools in areas like agriculture and animal husbandry in collaboration with 4 ministries. He said that he would open public education centers in school buildings if he did not get an opportunity to use it as an education unit. We find this development positive and gratifying.

However, we have not seen that the Ministry has done a very general study on this issue in the last three months. In order to provide healthy education to the village schools that have been closed for a long time, first of all their physical spaces have to be improved, if not possible they should be rapidly built by Tokyo with the understanding of mobilization. A part of school buildings should be built in such a way that it can be used as kindergarten. There should also be a multi-purpose hall next to the school, at least for sports and cultural events. In short, schools should be equipped with modern educational technology.

Doctor. According to Sakin Owner; The problem of teachers in the village schools to be opened for re-education can be easily solved because the appointment of 700 thousand teachers is still awaited. A permanent pre-school teacher and a classroom teacher should be appointed in these schools, and if possible, contract teachers who will teach skills such as foreign languages, music, painting and physical education. The ministry’s collaboration with other ministries and the opening of public education courses aimed at educating villagers outside school in classroom hours in modern agriculture, animal husbandry and other subjects through agricultural engineers and veterinarians would be a breakthrough that would ensure integration. To make the village and the schools and the schools the center of life in the villages.

It is almost time to start the 2022-2023 academic year. The National Education Ministry’s decision to reopen rural schools for re-education needs to be implemented at the earliest. If the village schools are reopened for education, the state will return to the village again. Thus, migration from village to city would stop, and even from city to village would begin. Villages will become vibrant centers of life and our children will be freed from the oppression of education. Teachers will again start leading the villages, the Turkish flag will be waved in the village and the national anthem will be sung. Thus, the bright horizon of the republic will be carried back to the village.

For the present picture which darkens us to meet the light, one of the education sages of our country, Dr. The suggestions of our teacher Sakin Nar need to be implemented at the earliest.

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