Umut Erdem – ANKARA
Following criticism of Turkey’s education system from Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) Director Andreas Schleicher, Education Minister İsmet Yılmaz claimed that the government made much-criticized recent changes to the curriculum in order to reach global standards.
Speaking to daily Habertürk last month, Schleicher had said Turkey’s education system does not comply with global standards and improvements must be made to raise quality.
“The PISA director says the Turkish education system doesn’t comply with world standards. We also say that. We were obliged to change the curriculum because it didn’t’ comply with the world,” Yılmaz said during a budget discussion session in parliament
He also said blasted European countries for allegedly “not managing to live with different cultures in the 21th century.”
“A journalist recently asked: ‘How will education be in the 21st century?’ Probably he was expecting a response about machines communicating with each other and a modern system. But education in the 21st century is about successfully living together with different cultures. We see every day that [Europeans] cannot succeed in this,” Yılmaz added.
PISA head Schleicher had also blasted the Turkish education system for stressing “memorization” at the expense of “creative thinking.”
“Turkish students are very good at regurgitating knowledge they have learned or putting something they have memorized on paper. But they have difficulty applying their knowledge in a creative way. Unfortunately, the areas in which Turkish students excel are no longer relevant in the world,” he said.
Education Ministry Undersecretary Yusuf Tekin subsequently defended memorization as a “traditional learning practice.”