Turkey's National Education Ministry has prepared a new plan for Turkish students whose studies have been interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. National Education Minister Ziya Selçuk on Tuesday announced that while the academic year will end on July 2, the ministry's "Voluntary School" project will be on offer throughout July and August.
The National Education Ministry launched the first semester of the academic year on Aug. 31 via distance learning with online resources. Kindergarten and first-graders started to attend classes on Sept. 21, while all elementary schools and some middle-school and high school grades switched to in-person classes on Oct. 12 as well. Finally, the remaining grades began face-to-face education on Nov. 2. However, after a one-week break in mid-November, the ministry decided to continue all education online due to surging coronavirus cases in the country. During this process, online programs, public broadcaster TRT’s EBA channel and printed and digital sources were utilized.
The country resumed in-person education for rural schools and kindergartens mid-February as the second semester began. Eighth and 12th graders, preparing for high school and university entrance exams, returned to classrooms on March 1, along with preschools, special education schools and primary schools.
Daily Hürriyet reported Wednesday that students will receive additional programs and resources to close the gaps in their studies, which will take into consideration what the students may have missed across all grades. The program will focus on students who failed to receive the necessary education in certain subjects. Students can retake the entire course or take particular classes in subjects they do not feel confident. Students can attend the courses on a voluntary basis but teachers foresee high attendance as millions of students have not participated in face-to-face education for a long time now.
The ministry has also prepared a non-compulsory work plan for teachers. Those who want to work voluntarily will receive additional payments. The volunteer school program will likely continue until August 31, when the new school year is planned to begin.
In the previous years, teachers used to enroll in a two-week seminar program once the school semester came to a close. This year the seminars, which were planned between June 21 to June 30, are to be held at the end of August due to the extension of the school period.
EBA, a little-known online education portal before the pandemic, provided a lifeline for more than 18 million students after schools were closed in the early days of the outbreak. The Ministry of National Education first introduced TV classes for remote education, and later, these were supported with live online classes by thousands of teachers. EBA now serves students with its expanded content, with more than 1,800 courses on different subjects and thousands of interactive materials, books, quiz databases, magazines, informative cartoons and more. Teachers and students have attended more than 154 million live class sessions in total since the early days of the outbreak.