Turkey is focused on developing its quality of education, said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in an opening ceremony of 2019-2020 academic year.
"We now need to focus on issues which require more effort and time such as improving quality of education," said Erdogan in a high school in Istanbul. National Education Ministry's budget increased from 7.5 billion Turkish liras (around $1.3 billion) to 114 billion Turkish liras (nearly $19.9 billion) since the ruling Justice and Development Party came to power in 2002, Erdogan said.
"We have expanded the scholarship opportunities to our students, especially to those who lack financial resources, to ensure equal and fair access to education opportunities," said Erdogan, adding that they distribute free textbooks in all schools.
The preschool education has rapidly become popular among families and the preschool starting age was dropped to 69 months old, he added.
Referring to the education reforms, he said that the curriculum was updated with a liberal, democratic, transparent and objective perspective.
"Education was used as a tool of 'human formatting', standardization and dictation for a long time," he stressed.
One of the main goals of education reforms is to clear the effects of indoctrination, the president added.
We eliminated ideological elements which despised our belief and cultural assets, he added.
Highlighting that 716 schools were officially opened this semester, he said a total of 12,640 classes were ready for the new academic year.
Technological infrastructure of the classes was thoroughly renovated and 1.5 billion tablets were distributed to students and teachers, he added.
School bells rang for over 18 million students and a million teachers in Turkey at the start of the new academic year.
The first semester of 2019-2020 academic year will end on Jan.17, 2020 and the second semester is scheduled to begin on Feb. 3 and end on June 19.
The students will take a break on April 6-10 in the second half.
This May, Turkey shortened the 13-week summer break for schools to 11 weeks in a move to increase efficiency in education.