MINISTER SELÇUK ANSWERED QUESTIONS ABOUT EDUCATION IN A CNN TURK TV PROGRAM"Minister of National Education Ziya Selçuk answered journalist Ahmet Hakan's questions in the "Neutrol Zone" program aired at CNN Türk TV channel. Selçuk stated that the Ministry has touched the future of children in every decision they take during the pandemic"
"We will never allow any situation that would risk any of our teachers or students. It is not a matter of discussion" said the Minister of National Education adding that they have been consulting doctors and monitoring daily corona virus figures of other countries every week before taking any major decision.
Noting that the decision about the beginning of new school has turned into a "national matter", Selçuk stated people must be confident that they would not make any decision if there are risks as the Ministry is thinking thoroughly before taking any major decision."
"We will make the most accurate decision for our children and teachers"
Making comments about the date of beginning of new academic year, Minister Selçuk underlined that the Ministry's purpose is to open the schools while there is normalization in every field. Answering Ahmet Hakan's question if schools will be opened on August 31, Minister Selçuk said, "We are ready for this date, that's clear". Selçuk pointed out that there were allegations that the corona virus figures would rise rapidly in the aftermath of the High School Entrance System (LGS) exams but only one student out of 1 million and 473 thousand students who entered the exam was diagnosed with the corona virus.
"The system worked perfectly, the Ministry of Health contacted us about the test results immediately and informed us that there was only one student who was diagnosed with Covid-19. We took necessary measures as soon as the end of first session of the exam ended", noted Minister Selçuk.
Pandemic standard at schools
Minister Selçuk stated that the Ministry has issued a hygiene standards along with control guidelines for schools in cooperation with the Turkish Standards Institution (TSE) and they will start implementing these standards after signing a protocol with the Minister of Industry and Technology Mr. Mustafa Varank. "We have control lists. An administrator and a teacher in every school will check the control lists. Schools practiced these standards during LGS exam. There are standards about every single item varying from entering to school to what to do during breaks."
Vocational High Schools are producing masks
Stating that the vocational high schools have produced most needed disinfectants and masks during the pandemic, Minister Selçuk underlined that these schools also produced mask machines and ventilators.
"Four scenarios about education system during pandemic"
Minister Ziya Selçuk stated that the Ministry has been working on four different scenarios about education system during the pandemic. First scenario is schools without any restrictions. Second scenario is continuation of online classes while schools are entirely closed. Selçuk defined the third scenario as "reduced" meaning schools will be opened on certain days of the week, students will go to school on different days, reduction of school hours and certain classes will be attended at schools while others will be followed online.
Selçuk explained the fourth scenario is taking measures only in risky cities adding that these are scenarios and a decision will be made during cabinet meeting chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
"Turkey has established a strong live class infrastructure"
Minister Selçuk underlined Turkey's success in distance education and it has a strong live class infrastructure. "Turkey is the only country which provide give live classes across the whole country. Other countries are giving distance education on a local scale or in private schools. In Turkey, teachers give live classes on TV or online in national scale. Certain children are having problems about accessing these classes from home but we are working in an effort to solve this problem."
1million goal in live education
Noting that three thirds of students in Turkey have the access to online live education, Minister Selçuk said that this figure will rise to 1 million in September. Minister Selçuk said that they have distributed television and computers from schools to students who have no access to the live classes.
Measures for school buses
Minister Selçuk noted that the Ministry is also working about measures that must be taken at school busses adding that, "We have founded an epidemic board in every school for maintaining hygiene and daily cleaning of school buses. This board also deals with the hygiene and daily cleaning of classrooms, door handles, toilets and school gardens."
"There are a serious number of students who are using mobile teaching in Turkey. We are working for reducing this figure. We are on opening more schools in villages in cooperation with our general directors, related institutions and the Ministry of Health. The pandemic is at a certain level and we are also thinking about half-time working scenario."
Free masks for students
Selçuk said that both teachers and students will wear masks which will be distributed by the ministry for free adding that they will also implement the standards of the Ministry of Health for washable masks which will be produced by the Vocational High Schools. Noting that they also took measures about students who have allergies after consulting with the Science Board, Minister Selçuk said that they also carry out R&D activities for designing masks for children who are wearing eye-glasses.
The Minister also mentioned a drive to raise awareness about masks among students. "First week of the academic year will be orientation. We will raise awareness about the benefits of using mask by playing games. We have a list of contact free games. We also produced introductory videos".
"Children go to school to see their friends"
"There is a home school concept in the world but as a teacher who studied education psychology for long years I know that education is not only limited with the curriculum. School is a stage of life, it is socialization and it is a window of opportunity to build values. We must not forget parents, too. It is hard to be a parent for 24 hours. Children learn from other children. Children go to school to see their friends. And there is this special bond between students and teachers. This is why we will do everything in our power to provide face to face education at schools," said Minister Selçuk.
"Distance education will continue after the opening of schools"
Minister Selçuk pointed out that the Ministry had produced 3 thousand 358 lesson programs and aired them from 3 television channels a week later after the first corona virus was detected in Turkey and decided to close down the schools. "Distance education will continue after the opening of academic year at schools. All lessons will be on the TV, too."