World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey's new academic year kicked off today for around 17 million students and 800,000 teachers with a new education system that increases the duration of compulsory education from an uninterrupted eight years to 12 years in three stages.
First graders and pre-school students started school last Monday, a week before other students, as part of an orientation program.
With the recent “4+4+4” education law, children who have reached 66 months of age in September have to register at a primary school.
Since being published in Turkey's Official Gazette on April 11, 2012, the new education law has been criticized due to a lack of the required infrastructure and the young age of first-grade students.
The country's number of classrooms was already inadequate, and the problem is now even bigger. Despite the 11,536 classrooms that have been built since the law came into force, many cities are in dire need of more classrooms to ensure proper conditions for education.
In addition to concerns about the new system, parents continue to worry that students who attend morning session classes may have problems sleeping as a result of having to get up before sunrise to make it to school on time; meanwhile, those attending the afternoon session will not finish until the evening -- around 7:00-7:30 p.m. They also worry that the students may not have sufficient breaks.
The 2012-2013 academic year ends on June 14, 2013.