Give more autonomy to Turkish teachers says OECD

ISTANBUL - The quality of Turkish education has to be improved for the country to become a more dynamic and competitive society, visiting OECD acting director Andreas Schleicher told an Istanbul audience on Monday. 

Attending an education conference in Turkey’s largest city, Schleicher said the country was last in Europe when it came to assessments of maths and sciences.

"Turkey has made enormous process, a lot of improvements. If you compare the PISA [student development] results in 2012 and 2013, you can see the country has been moving up further.

“However, according to the latest PISA results, Turkey ranks last among EU countries and only passes Mexico among OECD countries on assessments of mathematics, literacy, science and problem-solving skills," said Schleicher.

Stating that the quality of Turkish education system can be never improved without the quality of teachers, Schleicher said.

“Turkey has a fair, objective and rigorous evaluation system for teachers. While many other countries struggle with this, Turkey has achieved this already. My concern is more about relevance. You don’t become a good teacher just by reproducing a lot of knowledge.”

“Good education systems really try to attract the most talented teachers into the most challenging classrooms, and to get the best principals for the most difficult schools.”

Schleicher, indicating that autonomy for teachers means the ability to invent and create, said schools in Turkey still have very limited discussion to shape learning.

"Turkey aims to transform itself into a knowledge society with a highly competitive economy capable of sustainable development and eventually becoming a member of the European Union. Education is of strategic importance in pursuit of these challenging goals, urging constant progress in equity, quality, education for democratic citizenship and formation of social capital" Schleicher added.

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