Dolmabahçe Art Gallery in Istanbul is currently hosting a special exhibition displaying the works of disabled students who are trained at special centers and schools
Organized by the Ministry of National Education General Directorate of Special Education and Guidance Services, the exhibition "The Most Special Students, Activities and Artworks," featuring the artworks by disabled students studying at the special education vocational center, the special education vocational high school and the special education business practice center, was opened at the Dolmabahçe Art Gallery on Friday with a ceremony overseen by Minister of National Education Nabi Avcı.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Minister Avcı stressed that art knows no barriers and the exhibition puts the most valuable handcrafts of "the most special students" on display.
Stating that artistic creation is crucial to bring out the talents of special students and increase their self-confidence, Avcı said the aesthetic skills the students gain at special education centers and schools ease the social integration of disabled people while improving their special skills and helping their personal development.
Avcı stressed the importance of the cooperation protocol that was signed between the Ministry of National Education and the Culture and Tourism Ministry on Nov. 22 and continued: "We signed the protocol to bring out, improve and support the artistic, cultural and social skills and talents of our students and teachers. All the opportunities of the Culture and Tourism Ministry are in the service of students, teachers and all education workers." He further informed that the protocol enables students and teachers to be more active at museums, libraries, theaters and cinema halls and hopes to turn these places into culture and education centers for students as well as teachers.
Avcı concluded his speech by thanking all the students who contributed to the exhibition, teachers who encourage their students and the people who helped to realize the exhibition.
Following Minister Avcı's speech, General Director of Ministry of National Education Special Education and the Guidance Services Celil Güngör took the stage. Director Güngör said the General Directorate of Special Education and the Guidance Services has been initiating new educational, financial and political changes and projects for disabled citizens since 2004. "We introduce new and well-rounded social and economic regulations for students who receive special education and for all disabled people in Turkey. Thanks to the new financial regulations, disabled people who used to shape their lives according to their houses and rooms alone, have begun to go out, socialize and attend school. Disabled people learned to live with their disabilities and became a part of society while others learned to accept them."
Güngör explained the newest goal of the Ministry of National Education as "Taking the disabled out of the school," and said they want to help disabled people to learn a profession and new skills.
Explaining that "The Most Special Students, Activities and Artworks" is composed of the handcrafts of disabled students which mirror their talents and newly acquired skills, Güngör said, "Today, education is not an activity that is only limited between the four walls of schools. We aim to canalize our educational efforts to art, skills, talents and jobs."
He said the physical accessibility problems have been solved in special education centers. "Our newest goal is to remove all problems including the prejudice barriers in people's minds. After we remove these barriers, all we have to do is to show the public what disabled students can do."
After the speeches, İrem Fitöz of İbn-i Sina Special Education Center in Yalova gave a piano recital while Defne Anar of Ataşehir Science and Art Center performed with her harp. İrem Özcivan of Ataşehir Science and Art Center also offered a mini concert. At the end of the ceremony, students of Beykoz Special Education Vocational Center presented their collection of mat clothes which they designed and sewed.
"The Most Special Students, Activities and Artworks" exhibition will remain open until Dec. 11 at the Dolmabahçe Art Gallery.