“Darwin’s theory of evolution has been excluded from the most recent draft of Turkey’s new national curriculum,” reports the Hurriyet Daily News (June 22, 2017).
As NCSE previously reported, a draft of the curriculum omitted evolution, with a unit entitled “The Origin of Life and Evolution” replaced with a unit entitled “Living Beings and the Environment.” The draft was subsequently approved by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
A representative of the Education Ministry was quoted by the Hurriyet Daily News as describing evolution and the origin of life as both too difficult for ninth-grade students and as “controversial.”
But a group of Turkish academics retorted that science education “should be presented with a perspective that allows students to connect it to subjects they will encounter in future years. It should provide them with an evolutionary point of view.”
The Guardian (June 23, 2017) commented, “There is little acceptance of evolution as a concept among mainstream Muslim clerics in the Middle East … Still, evolution is briefly taught in many high school biology courses in the region.”
The teaching of evolution has been periodically contentious in Turkey, owing in part to the efforts of Islamic fundamentalist groups and politicians.