At least 66 courses have been left without academics and 38 undergraduate theses and 89 postgraduate theses have been left without advisers at Ankara University’s Faculty of Language, History and Geography after the government’s latest expulsions. A total of 330 academics, many of them from Ankara University, were expelled with a new state of emergency decree published in the Official Gazette late on Feb. 7, drawing criticism from the opposition and the scholars themselves about the effect the moves will have on education. Ankara University issued a statement titled “Balance sheet of destruction created by decree laws” after the sacking of the academics, noting the number of courses left without professors. At the same time, an Ankara court has ruled that signing the “Academics for Peace Petition”, a document that resulted in the firing of a number of academics, is not grounds for expulsion, daily Cumhuriyet has reported. Over 1,100 signatories of the petition demanded an end to government operations in southeast Turkey last year, eliciting the fury of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and resulting in the sacking of hundreds of academics.
Turkey has so far offered free education to 483,000 Syrian schoolchildren, the country’s education minister said yesterday. İsmet Yılmaz said over half of the 850,000 Syrian refugee schoolchildren in the country were being educated in Turkey’s public schools alongside local children. “We want to provide national education not only to our own children but also to those who have taken refuge in our country and those who are not able to live in their own country. If a person is uneducated, he or she will be open to additional risks wherever they are” Yılmaz said. He said the authorities carried out intensive studies into the education of Syrian refugee students after Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım’s order last June to immediately complete an offer for free schooling. Yılmaz said the curriculum had been scheduled with Arabic and Turkish teachers together because Turkey believes Syrian refugees will be able to back to their homeland after the war is over. Refugee students have missed years of education due to the closure of schools in their home countries and prolonged traveling. The European Union has contributed to Turkey for their education and pledged to send 300 million euros.