Barçın Yinanç – ISTANBUL

Faculties are scheduled to bodily open up on Sept 21, however, according to an skilled, it is tricky to satisfy that day. Colleges ought to produce their personal methods and teachers who know the small children should take their possess initiative, suggests Burcu Meltem Arık, underlining the importance of community solutions

Facial area to facial area schooling is to get started on Sept. 21, but almost everything seems uncertain for this yr, according to the instruction observatory coordinator of the Education and learning Reform Initiative, an unbiased think tank.

How acquainted was Turkey with length discovering right before the pandemic?

The Turkish Schooling Ministry has created a large amount of investments since 2012 as element of the instructional informatics community (EBA) underneath the Fatih job. Somewhat than length mastering, the aim was to introduce much more technologies into instructional processes and to reinforce the country’s infrastructure and capacity. There was no style and design in phrases of length mastering. Nonetheless, considerable measures ended up not taken until finally the appointment of the present-day minister, who revived the process and EBA was updated. Continue to, when the outbreak begun, the education program was caught unprepared.

How did the sector cope in the original period? Schools had been closed on March 16, a handful of days after the initially situation was identified in Turkey.

The official spring split, which started out previously than scheduled since of the outbreak, ended on March 23, after which length learning began. The Education Ministry did act rapid. As they were knowledgeable of the shortcomings in accessing EBA, a few channels were being opened on condition tv [TRT]. Irrespective of criticisms, broadcasts on TRT began extremely rapidly.

In the meantime, the ministry observed the complications, these as access to the online, learners with particular needs and the extra than 1 million Syrian pupils who had a pretty tricky time through this period of time.

The electronic hole turned much more noticeable. The curriculum, the information of classes, how instructors are educating — all this came out into the open up. Just before, lecturers closed the doors of lecture rooms and implemented courses that had been made in a pretty centralized method by the ministry.

The sector, the mothers and fathers and every person else confronted the predicament. They noticed the discrepancies among condition universities and personal schools, how ready lecturers were being for the digital processes, and many others.

The fragility of the system was witnessed not just by people working in the sector but by all of Turkey. So this process made the troubles more obvious.

What are the key problems?

The most significant difficulty (and we have been stating this considering that even ahead of the pandemic) is the significant centralization of choice-generating. Among OECD nations around the world, we’re 3rd from base, as we have a incredibly extremely centralized decision-earning system. That implies community decisions can not be taken, and the initiatives of educational facilities and lecturers are incredibly lower.

But in circumstances of education and learning in emergencies, you have to open up space to colleges and lecturers who know their students and give them house to employ their own initiatives and action strategies. The pandemic confirmed clearly that this house was also slim in Turkey.

To give you an case in point, length understanding for 1st-quality academics is a really difficult course of action for a lot of causes, this sort of as the adaptation of the small children to university, the changeover from engage in to procedures, developing a relation of rely on: all of this is extremely essential and requires physical proximity, like eye speak to.

1st-quality academics arrived together among by themselves due to the fact the centralized system did not present them a help system. They are making an attempt to understand from every single other. So more room wants to be offered to them.

How do you see the approach forward, as educational facilities are scheduled to physically open up on Sept. 21? Head you, a lot of consider even this day could be postponed due to the present rise in COVID-19 instances.

Options to have small little ones appear to faculty in a hybrid way are even now on. There are also ideas to have fourth and eighth-yr college students also appear to college. But our projection is that it will be quite challenging to meet up with that date. All the things seems pretty uncertain for this year. Which is why I want to underline the significance of neighborhood solutions. Educational institutions need to develop their personal remedies, instructors who know their college students must acquire their personal initiative and the ministry need to guidance them in this way. In addition, the confusion wants to be eradicated. The system is also unsure. We, as effectively as the ministry, might not know what to expect, and conclusions can transform every single working day. But this is now component of our life, so strategies A, B, C and D want to be clearly defined.

When colleges opened [for distance learning] on Aug. 31, lecturers explained there have been even now much too a lot of uncertainties, and they were being puzzled about acquiring new details every working day.

It is extremely vital to preserve academics serene. We need to have to remember they have their very own households and their personal problems. They have to set them aside and consider to preserve learners quiet and try to make them adapt to this course of action. They will need to be supported. Eradicating uncertainties and furnishing support mechanisms will be critical all through this interval.

There is a incredible will need for psychological steerage. Yet, on the other side of the coin, there is educational strain coming from mother and father. There is a learning gap mother and father want their small children to continue on their scientific studies. For the reason that of this strain, the psychological and social assistance mechanisms are supplied secondary importance. But stress concentrations require to go down.

What are the other troubles you see?

Perform towards pupils with particular demands has to be prioritized, as effectively as migrant college students whose mom tongue is not Turkish.

There is also a need for choice training strategies for specified teams of young children — those people who are working, for occasion, as seasonal workers or the children of seasonal staff. You can not reach them with Television set applications the hazelnut harvest is continuing appropriate now, for illustration.

You have talked a lot less about the electronic gap I would have envisioned this issue to major the checklist of issues.

The Schooling Ministry did point out that 1.5 million college students experienced problems accessing facts communications and technologies. But we can not clear up the problem by only offering tablets to learners. Some authorities argue we in Turkey converse way too a great deal about substantial know-how while we have to have to talk about low-tech options, like Television set or radio packages.

The pandemic therefore did not make learners extra equal but, on the opposite, looks to have consolidated the inequalities?

The pandemic produced inequalities additional seen, and the present-day procedures have the possible of more deepening these inequalities. Colleges are not just places for schooling they are also element of the boy or girl protection system. We still do not know much about baby abuse situations in the course of the pandemic. Meanwhile, in homes which are extremely outfitted technologically, and we see that in conditions of pupils of personal colleges, young children shell out 6 to 8 hours in entrance of a display screen. This is bad for their health. But the expectations of dad and mom to get what they have paid out for and the educational tension outweighs the need to have for the psychological well-getting of both equally students and academics. The psychological resilience is weakening, and no make any difference how fantastic our programs are, finding out could possibly not get area without having psychological resilience.


In 2007, Burcu Meltem Arık joined the Training Reform Initiative (ERG), an independent, not-for-profit imagine tank that contributes to systemic transformation in education for the growth of kids and culture. At ERG, she done essential considering, teacher coverage and excellent tactics in schooling initiatives. Due to the fact 2017, she has been ERG’s instruction observatory coordinator. Concerning 2015 and 2020, Arık taught classes on ecological literacy and sustainability and biomimicry at Istanbul Bilgi College. She is also a member of the Global Union for Conservation of Mother nature Instruction and Conversation Commission, the co-writer of ‘The Council of Europe Sustainability for Youth’ and ‘Mediterranean-Mosaic,’ and the founding husband or wife of the Property of Character Games (Doğa Oyunları Evi). Arık examined industrial and environmental chemistry at Center East Technological College.