According to the bill, the current eight years of compulsory education, which includes only a primary school education, will be lengthened by another four years of high school. There will be four years of primary school, four years of middle school and another four years devoted to high school. One of the amendments that stands out the most in the bill is the age for children beginning school being changed from 7 to 6. If the bill is passed, parents will be able to apply for their children to start school in the September of the year they turn 5. Ideally, all the currently raging debates on the new education formula will result in the elimination of the bill’s disadvantages, bringing the Turkish education system into compliance with the standards of modern education.
According to Star’s Mehmet Tekelioğlu, the 4+4+4 compulsory education bill is facing unjust criticism from some circles because it was not understood well or for ideological reasons. He thinks the main concern of Education Minister Ömer Dinçer in pressing ahead with this bill is to redesign our education system according to the realities of today. Tekelioğlu goes on to summarize the fundamentals of the education bill. “Above all else, lifetime education is the most important thing. It is obligatory for the education system to be flexible. A student can change his or her areas of interest throughout their educational career, as there are many factors that influence him or her. So not allowing students to change their areas of study is an unacceptable understanding, which is a product of the Feb. 28, 1997 postmodern coup. The most important aspect of the bill is increase of the duration of compulsory education to 12 years. Compulsory education is not interrupted in any of the modern countries.”
Bugün’s Ahmet Taşgetiren quotes the letter of a female teacher who has a 5-year-old son but has concerns about sending her son to primary school at the age of 5 in accordance with the new bill. In the letter, the teacher says when even 6-year-old children have problems in adapting to school life and dealing with academic work, it will be very difficult for 5 year olds to do so. “Let our kids play at the age of 5. They will already be overwhelmed by school in the years after that. As a person who appreciates the actions of the AK Party, I call on the government to step away from this mistake,” the teacher says in the letter.