MINISTER ÖZER REOPENS SCHOOLS IN İSTANBULMinister of National Education Mahmut Özer attended the ceremony organized on the occasion of reopening of the Şile Necda Moralıgil Primary and Secondary School and the Erenköy High School for Girls.
Minister of National Education Mahmut Özer addressed the ceremony organized on the occasion of the reopening of the Şile Necda Moralıgil Primary and Secondary School which was reinforced against earthquakes by the İstanbul Governor's Office Project Coordination Department and pointed out that the entire World passed through a period which was not experienced before since March 2020 and this period is not over yet. He noted that the world is struggling in adapting to this period as we are experiencing an unpredicted pandemic.
Stressing that education was among the most affected sectors during this period and the Ministry of National Education displayed a tremendous performance, Özer said, "We no longer have the luxury to close schools. Although we have used digital platforms in the most productive way possible during the suspension of face-to-face education, they cannot replace schools. Schools must not be viewed only as a place of education but also as a place where students complete their psychosocial development, are involved in joint studies and participate in cultural, arts and sports activities. In this light, there is no other mechanism that can replace face-to-face education but it does not mean that we will give up digital platforms. We will give continuous support through digital platforms while carrying out face-to-face education activities."
"The education system of the Republic of Turkey is gigantic"
Stressing that face-to-face education continues through abiding by hygiene rules, Özer gave the following information: "The education system of the Republic of Turkey is gigantic. We have 18 million students, 1.2 million teachers and over 100 thousand administrative staff. There are 150 thousand school bus drivers and guidance support staff. Roughly, there are 20 million people in the system. We are managing this process with case based or school based methods in order to continue face-to-face education. There are a total of 71 thousand and 320 schools, 57 thousand and 180 of them being state schools and there are 850 thousand classrooms."
Özer noted that face-to-face education was suspended in some classrooms for 14 days due to positive cases or having close contacts by the Ministry of Health and students enrolled in these classrooms continued their education through digital platforms for 14 days adding that, "We believe that continuation of open and face-to-face education is a matter of national security issue and we are standing behind our decision within this context."
Minister Özer stated that he was proud of teachers and that the rate of teachers who got the first dose of vaccination increased to 92 percent, who got two doses of vaccination rose to 83 percent and the rate of teachers who have antibodies against the coronavirus is 5 percent.
İstanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya was also present at the opening ceremony.
Many figures who worked in different offices of the state studied in this 110 year old school
Following the opening ceremony in Şile, Minister Özer attended the opening of Erenköy High School for Girls which was reinforced against earthquakes by the İstanbul Governor's Office Project Coordination Department.
Minister Özer expressed his excitement to be present at this 110 year old school adding that many important figures who contributed to the development of the Republic of Turkey and worked in different offices of the state studied in the school.
Pointing out that the entire World passed through a period which was not experienced before since March 2020 and the normal course of life started to change due to the pandemic, Özer said that education was affected most during this period but the Ministry of National Education continued to support students and teachers through rapidly developed digital platforms.
"There is a common belief in the community that distance education is an easy way of education. They think teachers do not want to go to school and distance education is an easy way of teaching but it is not true. Efforts for a 40 minute long lecture through digital platforms, production of digital materials and maintaining the attention of students in a virtual environment are not easy. I would like to congratulate all our teachers for their sacrifice during this process," stated Özer.
"No Digital Platform Can Substitute Face-to-face Education"
Pointing out that Turkey promptly moved to vaccinate its people due to the contribution and support of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Özer stressed, "Now, continuation of face-to-face education is possible in this environment where vaccination is a solution as well as hygiene, mask and social distancing rules are followed. We no longer have the luxury to close schools. For the last 1.5 year, despite the support of digital means, no digital platform can substitute face-to-face education. Upon the coordination between our Ministry and the Ministry of Health, we have entered the 3rd week of face-to-face education and schools are not closed, suspensions are limited in classrooms."
Minister Özer noted, "Expectations from schools are very high. 20 million people including 18 million students, 1.5 million teachers, approximately 150 thousand administrative personnel as well as hundreds of thousands of bus drivers are going to school and coming back to their homes. Due to this reason, almost all people should abide by health rules in an effort to keep our schools open."
Stressing that keeping schools open is a matter of national security, Minister Özer went on to say, "The world is now calculating the impact of grade increase on trillion dollar worth gross national product with the help of surveys carried out by PISA and OECD. In this light, it is clear that learning loss occurred due to distance education carried out during the pandemic has its cost. Due to this reason, face-to-face education is a matter of national security. Raising young minds in a healthy environment is a matter of national security."
"We demolished 19 school buildings in Kadıköy and reconstructed them"
Following the speeches, Minister Özer and the İstanbul Governor inaugurated the school. Minister Özer took selfie photos with students after the opening ceremony.