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Education System in Turkey

Both state and private educational institutions in Turkey are under the supervision of the Ministry of Education. 12-year Compulsory Education System (4 4 4 education system) is the education system in Turkey since 2012-2013. In 4 4 4 education systems, primary school is 4 years (grades 1-4), secondary school is 4 years (grades 5-8) and high school is 4 years (grades 9-12). The first 12 years of education are compulsory, meaning a person can drop out at 17.

12 years of education in the Republic of Turkey is compulsory for every citizen, both men, and women. In this education system, every student who completes his education is given a “High School Diploma”.

The modern education system in Turkey is free and respects differences and does not discriminate on the basis of religion, language, or race. In addition, the education system emphasizes primary school education, students’ vocational training, or children’s interests and skills.

Turkey is a secular state with no official religion. However, all schools have compulsory religious classes that focus mostly on the Sunni sect of Islam.

It is compulsory to wear a school uniform in all Turkish schools. This is because it avoids any differences between the various social classes.


It is the education given as a preparatory school for the preparation of the child for primary education. There is no obligation, but pre-school education is encouraged by the state and related institutions.

Primary School

The starting age for primary school is 66 months, which equals 5 and a half years. Children between 60 and 66 months old can go to school voluntarily (with parental consent). Parents can get a report from the doctor about whether or not the child is eligible to start school in order to be informed whether there is any harm in starting school.

Children eligible to start school can automatically find and enroll in the closest primary school via the Internet.

During the first 4 years, in primary schools, students are taught with a light curriculum. Initially, they attend a quarterly school preparation program. These students learn English from the second year and from the fourth year on, they learn the religious culture and moral knowledge.

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The total course time in primary school is 30 hours. The list of courses in primary school is as follows:

  • Turkish
  • Mathematics
  • Life Science
  • Foreign Language
  • Visual Arts
  • Music
  • Games & Physical Activities
  • Free Activities
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Traffic Safety
  • Religion & Ethics
  • Human Rights, Citizenship & Democracy

Middle School

Transition to middle school is done through the e-registration system, just like the transition to primary school.

The middle school gives students the opportunity to have freedom of action and the right to make decisions in their educational processes as a more free individual, in line with the understanding of civil society and democratic government. Middle schools aim to provide vocational skills training and develop students’ abilities. Therefore, elective courses are offered; This means that each student chooses their desired field from the available fields by enrolling eight hours a week. Elective courses other than compulsory courses in secondary schools are determined according to the request and priority of the student or their parents.

The total course time in middle school is 35 hours. The list of courses in primary school is as follows:

  • Turkish
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Foreign Language
  • Religion & Ethics
  • Visual Arts
  • Music
  • Physical Education & Sports
  • Technology & Design
  • Information Technologies & Software
  • Guidance & Career Planning
  • Turkey History of Revolution & Kemalism
  • Elective Courses

High School

High School Placement System (LGS) has been implemented as of the 2017-18 academic year and the settlement system has been introduced for schools close to the address.

High School Types in Turkey:

  • Meslekî ve Teknik Anadolu Lisesi
  • Anadolu Lisesi
  • Fen Lisesi
  • Sosyal Bilimler Lisesi
  • İmam Hatip Lisesi

In Anadolu Lisesi, after the third grade of high school (11th grade), students choose between TM (Turkish-Mathematics), MF (Mathematics-Sciences), TS (Turkish-Social Studies), and Language. Then enter specialized courses in their field.

This system is also valid in Meslekî ve Teknik Anadolu Lisesi. The only difference between them is that in Anadolu Lisesi students choose their departments in the 11th grade, while in Meslekî ve Teknik Anadolu Lisesi they choose their own department related to the profession after the first year (when passing to the 10th grade). In addition, it is compulsory to work as an intern in the 10th grade, 11th grade, and 12th grade. By doing an internship, the student learns about the business life related to his profession, receives a salary, and receives a lecture note about his internship from the place of internship.

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University (Higher Education)

The Student Selection and Placement Exam has been turned into a two-step exam since 1981. The Student Selection Exam (ÖSS), which is the first step in the two-level examination system, is administered in April, and the Student Placement Exam (ÖYS), which constitutes the second stage, is administered in June.

In Turkey, universities have 3 different types of education:

  • First Education: It is a normal education.
  • Second Education: It is evening or weekend education. Generally, the education level is lower.
  • Open Education: There is no obligation to attend classes at the university. Only exams are taken.

In addition, a person who has completed a university education can take an exam called ALES and receive a master’s degree. This is also called graduate education. It is divided into two as Thesis and Non-Thesis Master’s degree. The aim of the master’s program with a thesis is to enable the student to gain the ability to access, evaluate, and interpret information by doing scientific research. The aim of the non-thesis master’s program is to provide the student with deep knowledge of the professional subject and to show how to use the existing knowledge in practice.

Ph.D. is a degree or step that is reached with an examination and a scientific work in that branch of science after graduating from a faculty or college.

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