Turkish education lacks equality - PISA director

The Turkish Ministry of Education decentralised the examination system for middle schools in September, but unless every school is of a certain quality, the new system will not eradicate inequalities between students, OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) director Andreas Schleicher said.

The BBC quoted Schleicher as saying Turkey’s previous exam system was designed to pick the best students and provide them with higher quality education, but instead, he said, Turkey needed to build a system where every student reaches the best of their own potential.

Decentralisation of the exam system could eliminate the stratification between those who have better opportunities than those who do not, he said, but only if the quality of the education at local schools was at the national average.

Equality is the only solution, and it takes initiative to keep the best teachers in the job, especially when teaching the most disadvantaged students, Schleicher said.

He also criticised the overall aim of the education system in Turkey, which has recently dropped further in mathematics, science and reading in PISA scores.

Turkish students know how to pass exams, but they should instead be taught how to apply the knowledge they acquire at school, Schleicher said.

“The modern world is not about how much one knows, but what one does with it.”