The education system in Turkey for foreigners, the most debated and researched topic, is implemented using various policies worldwide. Its implementation varies by state and city in some countries, whereas Turkey has a centralized education system and a single authorized institution laying down these policies. The period determined for compulsory graded education applicable for the Turkish education system is 12 years and consists of 3 levels.
After compulsory education, there are further programs depending on career choice. If foreign nationals wishing to study in Turkey have an insight about the education system in Turkey, they will have the opportunity to make a more conscious choice and foreign students will be able to obtain citizenship in Turkey.
Preschool Education System in Turkey for Foreigners
Prior to the compulsory 3-level program in the Turkish education system, there’s a preschool education for children who are under the age of 6. Preschool education comes before the beginning of the academic program determined by the Ministry of National Education. Preschool program is not included in compulsory education and depends on the initiative of the families and it is intended to prepare and improve children for the education system to be given after the education processes, while appropriate areas matching the comfort and order at home have been created. While facilitating the lives of parents who work or who want their children to develop with the education they will receive in the preschool period, it also helps children to develop before going to school.
First Level Education | Primary Education System in Turkey for Foreigners
The first level determined for compulsory education is a four-year primary education program. The curriculum determined for primary education is given in a way to support the educational programs to be taken afterward. Prospective candidates who will start school are at first provided with basic education. Education is started with a light curriculum.
The first level education program, supported by elective courses according to the students’ development, abilities and preferences, is developed with new regulations at the beginning of each education period. The primary education program lasts 4 years, which period is the same as the periods of compulsory secondary education and high school programs. There is an infrastructure aiming to get prospective students away from a rote learning system. Educational methods to be employed were carefully determined and developed for each education period so that children achieve success in further stages of academic life and after its completion.
Another point that should be noted for the Turkish educational system is that the system is based on textbooks and the curriculum. The contents of textbooks are improved by the Ministry of National Education.
Second Level Education | Secondary Education System in Turkey for Foreigners
Following the primary school, there is a program whose theoretical aim is set out according to the professional goals and personal skills of the student. The program provided by the secondary education institution ends after successful completion of the courses and practices set out for preparation for high school and university education.
Secondary education process also takes 4 years. The 4-year education is directed towards the skills and abilities of the student. For this reason, elective courses are included in the secondary education program. Apart from that, it is wondered whether the religion and moral knowledge course is compulsory or not. It’s given as an elective course in Turkey and included in line with the student’s choice. The existing education system in Turkey has a curriculum created using courses prepared so that students can establish their skills and orientation after academic life. Secondary education has a large share in determining the student’s orientation with the elective courses offered.
Students who have successfully completed secondary education successfully complete the second level by obtaining their diplomas. Students qualify to sit for entrance to high school exam to determine the educational institution where they will receive high school education.
Brief Information About Entrance to High School Exam in Turkey
In Turkey, the exam system which the students completing secondary education have to take to start high school, which is the compulsory level according to the regulation of education system, has recently been changed. With the regulations of 2020, the address based registration system is valid for the high school entrance exam. With this system, students will be able to choose the high schools according to their address. Students are required to choose from the local placement screen at the first stage.
High School Preference Guide
Students who have taken the exam are eligible to make their choice in 3 groups, being high schools that accept students by exam score, local and boarding schools. It is possible to choose a maximum of 5 schools from each group. The total preference limit has been determined as 15. If a student has not taken the High School Entrance Exam, s/he will be eligible to choose from 2 groups. In that case, the student has the right to choose a maximum of 10 schools. During the choice period, students have to choose on 3 screens. But first, the local placement screen will open. In the first stage, the first 3 school choices will be made from the enrollment area and then a total of 5 schools must be entered.
Application to Local Placement System Without Exam | YKS
With the recent amendments made on the education system in Turkey, there’s been a switch to the local placement system without exams. While making a choice according to this system, the prospective students should make preliminary research of the schools in the region where they are registered. For high schools that accept students without an examination, a maximum of 5 schools can be selected through the system.
In the new system, the first criterion is Secondary School Grade Point Average and the second criterion is age. According to this, the younger student has priority. Prospective students who have been unable to enter the school they want or those who want to change the school in which they have been placed are entitled to additional placement processes or be transferred.
Third Level Education | High school Education
High school education in Turkey is a step that is obligatory for the academic system. The students who will get a high school education will be placed in high schools according to the score they’ll get in the exam. High school education takes 4 years. In Turkey, there are high schools providing education in different categories.
High School Education Institutions in Turkey
High schools, considered 3rd Level in the structure of the educational system in Turkey, have 7 categories:
• General high school: All students who want to enter a high school after 8 years of education are eligible to enter general high schools if they meet the necessary requirements. • Vocational High School: Students who have graduated from a vocational high school can directly go up to vocational college. • Anatolian High School: These are high schools that have a second foreign language option and place emphasis more on foreign languages. The course hours are more than those of general high schools. • Science High School: It is an institution preferred by students who have a special interest in the field of science.
Apart from these high schools, there are Fine Art High Schools, Imam Hatip High Schools(Islamic religious vocational high school) and Private High Schools.
University Education System in Turkey for Foreigners
Students who have completed the steps required for the education system in Turkey become entitled to enter higher education institutions. Students who want to receive undergraduate education in Turkey are required to apply directly to the respective university. One of the requirements for entering a university for Turkish citizens is to have a high school diploma.
Universities in Turkey have their individual admission requirements. It will be advantageous for you to make preliminary research about the admission requirements of the university you want to enter. Generally, a high school diploma obtained from a school equivalent to Turkish high schools is required. In addition to this, a transcript showing the high school grades should be submitted.
University Exams List for Foreign Students
According to the existing conditions in the Turkish education system, foreign students are required to meet certain conditions to be able to receive undergraduate education. There are internationally recognized exams. Foreign students are required to take one of the exams listed below and obtain the necessary score from such exam:
• GCE, ACT, SAT etc… • University entrance exams of some countries, including Syria, Lebanon, China, Palestine and Jordan, • Foreign Student Exam (YOS) held in Turkey
Admission requirements of universities vary according to their own regulations. You can examine admission requirements and the steps to follow for foreign students in Turkey in our next article.