History of Education in Turkey

After the foundation of the Turkish republic the organization of the Ministry of Education gradually developed and was reorganized with the Law no 2287 issued in 1933. The Ministry changed its names several times. It fell under the Ministry of Culture (1935-1941 and was named Ministry of National Education, Youth, and Sports (1983-1989). Since then it is called the Ministry of National Education. Before the Republic, education institutions were far from having a national character. Schools were organized in three separate channels which were vertical institutions independent of each other. The first and the most common in this organization were the district schools and madrasas based on the teaching of the Quran the Arabian language and memorizing, the second were the Reform schools and high schools supporting innovation and the third were the colleges and minority schools with foreign language education.

The Law of Integration of Education, no 430 was issued on 3 March 1924. With this law, the three separate channels were combined, the first one was closed, the second was developed and the third one was taken under the inspection and monitoring of the Ministry of Education. One of its aims was to apply secularism in the area of education. By the law for the Education Organization no 789 issued on 22 March 1926 the Ministry of National Education was given responsibility for defining the degrees and equalities of the public and private schools already opened or to be opened by a ministry other than the Ministry of National Education. This Law brought new arrangements such as "no school can be opened in Turkey without the permission and agreement of the Ministry of National Education" or "curricula shall be prepared by the Ministry of National Education". The vocational-technical education institutions formerly directed by local governments were put under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education.
In 1923-24, there were in Turkey, slightly more than 7,000 secondary school students, almost 3,000 high school students, some 2,000 technical school students and officially 18,000 medrese students of whom 6,000 are claimed to be actual students and the rest who registered to be excluded from military service. The population of Turkey was at that moment some 13-14 million.

Literacy rates before the language reform in Turkey (1927). The literacy rates rose to 48.4% among males and 20.7% among females by 1950. In modern day Turkey, this rate is 98.3%.

On 1 November 1928 Law no 1353 introduced a new Latin-based alphabet was accepted. In 1931, the Turkish Association of History, and in 1932, the Turkish Language Association were established to protect Turkish from influences of foreign languages, improve it as science suggests and prevent misuse of the Turkish language.

there were 5,100 schools in 1923, this figure increased to 58,800 in 2001
there were 361,500 students in 1923, this number increased to 16 million in 2001
in 1923 12,200 teachers were employed, this number increased to 578,800 in 2001.
in 1924 there were 479 medrese (Islamic schools), on average each one of them had approximately 1 or 1,5 hoca (teacher). All medrese were closed down that year by the law of Tevhid-i Tedrisat.

Kuleli Military High School in Istanbul near Bosphorus.
Until 1997 children in Turkey were obliged to take five years of education. The 1997 reforms introduced compulsory education for eight years. New legislation introduced in March 2012 prolonged compulsory education to 12 years.