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Turkey – Education and Schools

Turkey is a country located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, with a rich cultural heritage and a rapidly growing economy. In this article, we will explore the quality of education in Turkey, the ages at which education is compulsory, the types of schools available, the syllabus and qualifications offered, typical school hours and holidays, enrollment requirements, competition for enrollment, and options for higher education.

Quality of Education in Turkey

The quality of education in Turkey has been improving steadily in recent years, with increased investment in education and efforts to modernize the curriculum. However, there are still significant disparities in the quality of education between urban and rural areas, and between different regions of the country.

Compulsory Education in Turkey

Education is compulsory in Turkey for children between the ages of 6 and 18. This means that all children must attend school for at least 12 years, from primary school to upper secondary school.

Types of Schools in Turkey

Primary Schools

Primary schools in Turkey are for students between the ages of 6 and 14. The curriculum focuses on basic skills such as reading, writing, and mathematics, as well as subjects such as social studies, natural science, and physical education. Primary school is compulsory for all students and is free of charge.

Lower Secondary Schools


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Lower secondary schools in Turkey are for students between the ages of 14 and 17. The curriculum is more focused on academic subjects, such as mathematics, science, and foreign languages. Students also take courses in social studies, physical education, and the arts. Lower secondary school is also compulsory for all students and is free of charge.

Upper Secondary Schools

Upper secondary schools in Turkey are divided into several different types of programs, including general academic, vocational, and technical programs. These programs are designed to prepare students for a variety of careers and further education opportunities. Upper secondary schools are not compulsory and are fee-paying.

Syllabus and Qualifications in Turkish Schools

The curriculum in Turkish schools varies depending on the level of education. However, there are certain core subjects that are taught across the country, such as mathematics, science, social studies, and language arts. Students are required to take exams at the end of each level of education to receive a qualification.

Qualifications offered by Turkish schools include the Certificate of Primary Education (Ilkö_retim Diplomasi), the Certificate of Secondary Education (Lise Diplomasi), and the Higher Education Entrance Examination (YKS), which is a standardized test used by universities to measure academic ability.

School Hours and Holidays in Turkey

School hours in Turkey vary depending on the level of education. Primary schools typically start at 8 am and finish at 1 pm, while lower secondary schools and upper secondary schools start at 8 am and finish at 3:30 pm.

The academic year in Turkey starts in early September and ends in late June of the following year. There are two semesters, with a two-week break in January and a one-week break in April. In addition to these breaks, there are also national and religious holidays throughout the year.

Enrollment Requirements and Competition

To enroll in a school in Turkey, students must provide documentation such as a birth certificate, proof of residency, and their academic records from their previous school. For international students, a passport and visa may also be required. In addition, students may need to take an entrance exam to be admitted to certain upper secondary school programs.

Competition for enrollment in Turkish schools can vary depending on the location and the level of education. Some upper secondary school programs may be more selective than others, particularly those with a strong vocational or technical focus.

International Schools

Turkey has several international schools that cater to expatriate families and local families seeking an alternative to the public school system. These schools offer a variety of curricula, including the International Baccalaureate (IB), the Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), and the American curriculum.

Some popular international schools in Turkey include:

Higher Education in Turkey

Turkey has a wide range of higher education institutions, including universities, technical institutes, and vocational schools. The most well-known and prestigious university in Turkey is Bosphorus University (Bo_aziçi Üniversitesi), which is located in Istanbul. Other prominent universities include Ankara University (Ankara Üniversitesi), Istanbul Technical University (Istanbul Teknik Üniversitesi), and Middle East Technical University (Orta Do_u Teknik Üniversitesi).

In addition to these universities, there are also several technical institutes and vocational schools that offer training in fields such as nursing, engineering, and tourism. Some of the most popular vocational schools in Turkey include the Istanbul Technical University Vocational School and the Marmara University Vocational School.

Education in Turkey is compulsory for 12 years, from primary school to upper secondary school, and the country has a well-regarded education system that is focused on providing a strong foundation in basic skills and preparing students for further education and career opportunities. There are several types of schools available, including primary, lower secondary, and upper secondary schools, and qualifications offered include the YKS, the Certificate of Primary Education, and the Certificate of Secondary Education. There are also several international schools and institutions of higher education, including Bosphorus University and Ankara University.


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