Ministry of Education paving way for gender segregated high schools - union

The Turkish Ministry of Education, in a new guideline it published for the academic year, changed a clause pertaining to co-ed education in high schools, paving the way for segregation of genders, according to the country’s leading trade union of educators, formerly left-wing Cumhuriyet daily reported.

According to the ministry’s new clause, gender segregated education may be implemented in Turkey’s rural areas and schools with a small student body, as the ministry sees fit, the daily said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his leading Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) have been vocal about plans to create a pious next generation with critics accusing them altering to educational system to this end and supporting mixed-sex education as a way to protect the Turkish Republic's secularist characteristics. 

Eğitim-Sen (Education and Science Workers’ Union) criticised the ministry’s new regulation, accusing it of opening the doors to gender segregated education in the country’s high schools.

The ministry responded to the union’s allegation in a statement it released on Tuesday, saying mixed-sex education in Turkish schools is ‘’fundamental;’’ however, schools may be designated as boys or girls only depending on the resources available.

The ministry’s new guideline also made changes to regulations regarding high schools with a low student enrollment. While high schools with less than 80 students were previously shut down, the threshold for minimum students enrolled for a high school to say open was lowered to 40, the daily noted.