Controversial race code for non-Muslim students lifted at schools
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULJul 03, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Jul 03, 2015 12:00 am
The Ministry of National Education abolished the race code requirement for the registration of non-Muslim students at schools, a controversial profiling practice of minority members, Turkish media reported.
It was revealed that the rumor of a coding system for non-Muslim minorities, which assigns Jews, Armenians and Greeks numbers, was in fact a long-standing truth a few years ago during a lawsuit. A document by the local education authority in Istanbul, supplied in the case of an Armenian family seeking to enlist their child to a kindergarten, revealed Turkish citizens of Armenian origin were secretly coded with number "2" in civil registry. The practice has reportedly been in place since the Republic of Turkey, which has a blemished record on the treatment of minorities, was founded in 1923.
Under a new regulation, children of minorities will be no longer be subject to inquiry if they apply to study in minority schools. Since minority schools can only admit students from relevant minority, students who were from Armenian, Jewish or Greek families assimilated in Turkish society had trouble proving their adherence to the minority. Now, they are allowed to sign up for schools only with their existing IDs, effectively eliminating the process of approval by the city's education directorate.
The Ministry of National Education also granted more autonomy to minority schools, handing the reassignment of teachers to the school administration. Turkish language teachers at these schools will be able to stay at the same school after their obligatory reassignment period, if the school's administration requests an extension of their stay.