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Apr 14, 2021

Reformed approach key to Turkish students’ rising success in math, science

Turkey significantly climbed in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), citing the improvement was due to a series of changing strategies of education in Turkey, from the promotion of critical thinking and innovation to changes in the approaches based on mathematics and digital efficiencies.

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Turkey is located in southwestern Asia bordering the Black Sea, between Bulgaria and Georgia, and bordering the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, between Greece and Syria. Present-day Turkey was created in 1923 from the Turkish remnants of the Ottoman Empire. Soon thereafter, the country instituted secular laws to replace traditional religious fiats and is now a parliamentary democracy. In 1945 Turkey joined the UN, and in 1952 it became a member of NATO. Turkey intervened militarily on Cyprus in 1974 to protect Turkish Cypriots and prevent a Greek takeover of the island; the northern 37 percent of the island remains under Turkish Cypriot control. Relations between Turkey and Greece have improved greatly over the past few years.

Currently, Turkey's estimated population is 80,813,000. The prominent religion practiced in Turkey is Muslim, with the overwhelming majority being Sunni, however, Christianity and Judaism are present as well. The languages spoken include Turkish (official), Kurdish, Arabic, Armenian, and Greek.


The T.C. Milli Eğitim Bakanlığı oversees education in Turkey.

Primary Education

Primary education is compulsory for all citizens and begins at age 6. Eight years is the standard duration for primary education. After the successful completion of primary school, students are awarded with the İlköğretim Diplomasi.

Secondary Education

Seconary education consists of general and vocational/technical high schools that offer at least 3 years of education. The Lise Diplomasi is awarded after an additional 3 years of secondary educaiton beyond the İlköğretim Diplomasi. The Meslek Lise Diplomasi is offered after an additional 3 years of vocational secondary education. And the Teknik Lise Diplomasi is awarded after 4 years of technical secondary education beyond the İlköğretim Diplomasi. In addition, the Meslek Yüksek Okulu Diplomasini is awarded after completion of a 2-year program of study in a Vocational High School.

Post-Secondary Education

Admission to higher education is centralized and based on a nation-wide single-stage examination administered by the Student Selection and Placement Center (ÖSYM) every year.

Institutions of higher education offer programs of study at associate's, bachelor's, master's or doctorate degree levels. The system consists of state and private (foundation) universities and non-university institutions of higher education (police and military academies and colleges). Private universities come under the supervision of the Council of Higher Education and their programs must be regularly accredited.

First Cycle, Academic

There are several degrees students can earn within the first cycle of post-secondary education. The Önlisans Derecesi/Diplomasi is awarded after the completion of a 2-year program of university study. The Lisans Derecesi is awarded to students who have completed all 4 years of university education. Other more career oriented degrees, such as the 5-year Mühendislik Diplomasi engineering degree or the 6-year Tip Doktoru Lisans Diplomasi for medicine, are offered as well.

First Cycle, Vocational/Technical

The Hazirlik is a 1-year preparation program offered by universities and intended to fill in academic requirments necessary for vocational or technical secondary graduates to apply to university. It can also be taken in order to improve foreign language proficiency.

Second Cycle

The Yüksek Lisans Diplomasi is awarded after the completion of a 1- or 2-year program of graduate study in a number of various fields. The Uzmanlik Belgesi is awarded after the completion of the 2-year program in Agriculture, Pharmacy, or Verterinary Science or after the compltion of a 2- to 6-year program of advanced clinical training in the medical field. The Bilim Uzmanliği Diplomasi is earned by students who complete two years of study in a science graduate program.

Third Cycle

Those who wish to further their degree after having completed graduate studies may pursue their doctorate. The Doktora Diplomasi is awarded after the completion of a 2- or 3-year program of graduate study and research, as well as the completion of a thesis.

LesLee Clauson Eicher
LesLee Clauson Eicher

Senior International Credential Evaluator, Academic Evaluation Services


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