The parliamentary sub-commission in charge of a new compulsory education bill has finished making amendments to the draft law and lowered the starting school age from 7 to 6.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) submitted the new educational bill, which increases current compulsory education from eight years to 12 to Parliament on Feb. 20. Parliament then sent the new bill back to the parliamentary sub-commission for reassessment and for the commission to make amendments, which it completed on Wednesday.
One of the amendments that stands out the most is the age for children beginning school being changed from 7 to 6. If the bill is passed, parents will be able to apply for their children to start school in the September of the year they turn 5.
Another amendment made by the commission concerns the issue of the minimum age required to carry out an apprenticeship. In the original compulsory education bill, the age necessary to do an apprenticeship was lowered from 14 to 11, but the commission has decided to restore the original minimum age, meaning children below the age of 14 will not be able to work as an apprentice anywhere.
The commission also decided not to make preschool education compulsory due to problems with infrastructure, such as a lack of schools, preschool teachers and teaching materials.
According to the bill, the current eight years of compulsory education, which includes only primary school education, will be lengthened by another four years of high school education. The compulsory 12 years of education will be divided into three levels -- four years of primary school, four years of middle school and a further four years devoted to high school education.
In its current form, education consists of eight years of uninterrupted primary school education that includes middle school education. If the bill is passed, middle schools will be re-established and primary school education will be separated into two levels.
Yilmaz said when the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party came to power in 2002, Turkey was last among EU countries in the funding of its education.
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