Education System In Turkey

One of the most popular questions we get asked from our clients who have bought a property through Kingsman Estates and moved to Turkey, is how can I send my children to Turkish schools? In this blog post, we will outline the details of the education system in Turkey with great details. So you can make sure your children can get the best education possible. 

Before we get into the full details of the education system in Turkey, as Kingsman Estates we would like to let you know that you will be pleased by the amount of variety and accessibility when it comes to the education system in Turkey for foreigners especially if you are looking to live in one of the bigger cities like Antalya and Istanbul. 

Over the last 10 years, education in Turkey has been gaining popularity among the expat community as immigration into Turkey has been steadily increasing especially after the initiation of the citizenship by investment programme

Luckily, the education system in Turkey provides high educational standards in a variety of fields for people of different financial backgrounds. According to the constitution of Turkey, every citizen has the right to access education for free for compulsory primary education. However, there is no requirement or immediate right to access free education to foreigners in Turkey. 

All education in any form takes place under the supervision and in accordance to the regulations of the Ministry of Education in Turkey and the central government is responsible for all the expenses of public education. Generally around %10 of Turkish yearly budget is allocated to public education in Turkey. 

The official start for education in Turkey starts at the age of five. You may choose to delay that for one year until your children are 72 months old which is 6 years old. After that age, there is absolutely no option to delay your children’s education. Parents might choose to send their children to kindergarten or preschool before that. Once your children have started the education system in Turkey, the next 12 years are also compulsory. 

Education Levels In Education System In Turkey

All children are legally required to get education for 12 years in Turkey. These years are separated into three parts called 4+4+4. The first for years are primary school, the second four years is middle school and the last four years is high school.

Preschool or going to university is not compulsory in Turkey however if you are not Turkish we strongly recommend your children to go to kindergarten and preschool as they will get a decent foundation to Turkey way or life as well as the education system in Turkey. Making children go to primary school without any prior experience in the education system in Turkey might be overwhelming to them. 

Kindergarten in Turkey

You may choose to send your children to kindergarten from age one to three in Turkey. However, it is generally not a common practice among the Turkish people to send their kids to kindergarten at such a young age as they prefer to raise their kids in a warm family environment with lots of parent contact time. Regardless of whether they are public or private kindergartens are not free in Turkey. However, it is a common practice for families where both parents are working and there is no one that can look after their children during the daytime. 

If you are a foreigner with a kid between the age of one and three, we absolutely recommend you to send your children to a kindergarten as it will massively prepare your children for the Turkish way of life and education system in Turkey. Please be aware that plenty of kindergartens also have an English teacher allowing the kids to meet with the English language early one which is essential to be able to become an expert in the language. 

Preschool in Turkey

Once children finish with their kindergarten stage and they are at age between three and five, they become eligible candidate for preschool in Turkey. Sending children to preschools is still not a common practice in Turkey but more and more parents are starting to do so. Preschool is a step above kindergarten and daily activities include, training, games, lunch and a nap in the afternoon. They will also learn basic maths and geometrical shapes. Although preschool is not compulsory, the objectives of this school are worthwhile. 

Your children will be prepared for primary education ensuring physical, mental and sensory development of children as well as the acquisition of good habits that will allow them to have a sustainable social life in the future. Preschools are not free in Turkey and the costs massively vary on how good the preschool is and among the activities they have. Most preschools start from 8.30 in the morning and go until 16.00 in the afternoon. 

  • Just like kindergarten, if you are looking to send your children to preschool all you need is a residency permit. Just walk in to the closest one near where you live and you will be able to register your children. 

Primary Education in Turkey

Primary schools in Turkey include four years of elementary school followed by another four years of middle school and it is compulsory for all girls and boys to attend after the age of 5.5 to attend and it is free of charge. In the majority of elementary schools in Turkey, your children will be expected to have the school uniform. This is in order to eliminate the early introduction of social classes and dynamics coming from families of different financial ability. 

You can expect your children to learn about subjects like literacy, mathematics, general life studies, optional religion study, art and a foreign language. In addition to that certain skills, behaviours and general habits to become a good citizen is installed to children along with national moral concepts of Turkish identity

The size of the classes legally cannot exceed 30 students however sometimes schools might install shifts in order to solve the high number of students. Please be aware that your children will go through various exams from the subjects he or she have been studying throughout the year. If your child fails to pass them, it will be required to repeat the entire year in order to progress to the next level. After twelve years  of studying students who have successfully completed the levels will then be eligible to advance to secondary education which will last for four more years. 

Towards the final three years, students will take national exams in order to progress to high schools in Turkey. High school national examinations are very competitive in Turkey and it will have a big impact on the future of the student as going to a good university is through going to a good high school where students are exposed to a much better education. 

High Schools In Turkey

High schools in the Turkish language are called “lise”. And it is the final four years of compulsory education in Turkey. In general, high schools prepare students for higher education institutions like universities. There are both private and public high schools in Turkey. And these private high schools tend to have lesser expected grades and are very expensive. They tend to have double language programmes like Italian, German, French in addition to learning English. 

Students in Turkish high schools have more freedom when it comes to deciding what fields they would like to concentrate on. Once they finish the four years of education the compulsory part of the Turkish education system ends here. Students are able to then apply for a national exam for applying to universities in Turkey. This exam is again extremely competitive in Turkey and requires a great deal of study. Once you have got your results for this exam you will then be able to apply to various universities in Turkey. 

Universities in Turkey

Turkey has an abundance of universities. As of 2021 there are 203 universities in Turkey. 130 of them are state universities and the rest is privately owned. All universities in Turkey follow the Bologna agreement in order to standardise their degrees with the rest of the European Union. Most courses last four years in Turkey and there are options to opt in to fully English taught degrees. 

Students who have finished one of the licence programmes in Turkey may also choose to continue their masters of PHD’s in Turkey. There are further national examinations as well as certain requirements for the ability to speak English. 

It depends but the first 12 years of education in Turkey is very demanding, especially compared to European countries. 

It depends on the school you are going to and your grade. But most schools start in the morning and continue till the afternoon. 

If you are looking to learn Turkish studies, coming over to Turkey to study those subjects will be the best option for you. 

Yes, education until the year 12 is free and compulsory in Turkey. 

Yes, most schools teach English as a second language in Turkey. 

It depends, if you can easily have accreditation in your home country, studying medicine in Turkey can be a good option. 

Education until grade 12 is free in Turkey. 

Yes, foreigners can study in Turkey at all educational levels. 

Yes, if you find work before you graduate you will be able to apply for a work permit in Turkey. 

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