Discriminatory language in textbooks to be removed

Historians and academics support the Education Ministry's plan to remove discriminatory language from history textbooks used at schools, calling the move belated.

Discriminatory language in textbooks to be removed

World Bulletin/News Desk

Education Minister Nabi Avcı said on Wednesday that his ministry's Board of Education and Discipline (TTK) is working to make radical changes to history textbooks. He said that the history textbooks studied in schools will be revised to eliminate discriminatory language. The minister said the textbooks are supposed to unite us, but certain discourse in the existing history textbooks does exactly the opposite and it is their goal to resolve this. However, he did not give any examples of the language that will be changed or removed from the books. Avcı spoke on the subject at the International Symposium on the Teaching of Eurasian-Turkic Language and History.

İstanbul Technical University professor Zekai Şen said the existing history books lack a great deal of information on our history of contributions to science. “Students know about Einstein more than they know about Avicenna or al-Farabi. The history of science taught in the books is what has been learned in the West. This issue should be addressed at once,” he said, calling the ministry's plan to revise textbooks a good, but belated move.

Osman Çakmak, the president of the Association of Turkish Academics, on the other hand, argued that all school books and not only history textbooks should be revised so that discriminatory or incorrect information is eliminated. The academics and historians also noted that the public should be informed about the work described by the minister.

Historian Ramazan Balcı says he supports the project wholeheartedly, but he also recommends being careful when revising the books. He said that history textbooks were revised after the republic was established in Turkey and they were partially rewritten in a way that would raise individuals with a nationalist ideology. But by now it must have been realized that it is not useful to write Turkey's history with a racist and discriminatory perspective, he noted.

A workshop titled “Transformation of the Paradigm in Education” took place recently, Çakmak said. The event's participants called on the ministry to revise school textbooks and curricula and the ministry seems to have responded this request, he noted.

Last Mod: 17 Mayıs 2013, 16:52
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