Teachers fear school questionnaires have ulterior motive

Questionnaires asking students about their race and religion have been carried out at schools in the western provinces of Manisa and Eskişehir, leading teachers to fear that their pupils are being profiled by the government, opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet said.

Teachers’ union Eğitim-İş branded the surveys as blacklisting measures, not questionnaires. The union said that normally with these types of surveys, students’ personal information was not taken, but in this case students were asked to write down their full addresses along with their names.

Every day, new types of profiling methods appear under the name of questionnaires/research at National Education Ministry (MEB) schools, the newspaper said.

At many state schools in Eskişehir, students have been asked to fill out surveys prepared by Konya-based research centre Miraajans, it said.

The Eskişehir questionnaire, of which the aim is unknown, also included questions about students receiving help from religious sects and their media consumption habits, as well as if they were satisfied with their local opposition-controlled municipality.

In the quesionsaire in Manisa, students were asked if they agreed with the following:

- It is important for me that the people I befriend are religious.

- Individuals should arrange their lives around religion.

- The person I will marry should be religious.

- Every student should take compulsory religion lessons.

- The person that you are to marry should belong to the same sect as you do.

“It is against the principle of every citizen’s equal and fair right to education in the National Education Law to ask students about their religious and private lives and their ideological tendencies and even asking questions about their genetic heritage,” Eğitim-İş was quoted as saying. “We condemn the profiling methods of the ministry, which is obliged to provide equal, fair and scientific education to every student, and we declare that we are not going to let it (this matter) go.”