Military service time reduction for vocational school graduates on table

Science, Industry and Technology Minister Faruk Özlü said shorter-term military service for graduates of vocational schools was on the agenda to render such education more attractive, Cumhuriyet newspaper said.

“We have discussed the issue a few times, Özlü said. "We need qualified personnel rather than university graduates. Hospitals need more nurses than doctors. In Germany, there are 7.8 million young people attending vocational education. It is 1.7 million in Turkey. Industrialists want seaming experts or CNC operators, but we educate general high school graduates.”

“If we can provide for this need, I believe that it will contribute to reducing unemployment," he said, according to Cumhuriyet. "This issue has been discussed with our education minister at a meeting in Sivas, and the minister took a note to do this.”

Military service in Turkey is compulsory for all male citizens between 20 and 41 years of age. There is a 12-month conscript obligation for non-university graduates and 6–12 months for university graduates (graduates of higher education may perform 6 months of military service as short-term privates, or 12 months as reserve officers).

Recent government figures have shown that general and science high schools in Turkey are over-subscribed, while demand for vocational and religious high schools – which are generally of lower prestige and aimed at skilled working-class employment – are deeply unpopular.