Finding the right school for your child is one of the biggest issues families face when they start new lives in Turkey. So what are the schools like?
From those expats who have seen their children through the education system, opinions differ. Some certainly praise the Turkish education system and the ways that it helps families to integrate better. Others point out their children were like fish out of water, struggling with a strange language and culture.
Grasp the opportunity to learn Turkish yourself, to help your children with their homework, to make friends with other parents, and to improve your own life in Turkey.
First and foremost, look at the availability of schools in your chosen area. Speak to expat families who have already climbed the learning curve. Research what will be required from your child in school and balance the pros and cons of each option so you know you’re making a decision based on what is best for your child. It is best to weigh up the thoughts and feelings of your children too. If you’re free in the day time, why not offer to help teaching English in the school, rather than leaving your offspring looking miserable at the school gate.
Those children who are prepared for a change and who relish the idea of learning a new language will probably sail through the Turkish school system. They will get more involved in the Turkish language and way of life and are likely to settle in better. This level of integration will stand them in good stead for the future, when they will need to be able to communicate and work alongside native Turkish speakers. If there are already expat children in the school, the transition will be far easier.
You could also grasp the opportunity to learn Turkish yourself, to help your children with their homework, to make friends with other parents, and to improve your own life in Turkey.
One good tip is to make the time to meet with prospective teachers and head teachers. It will be invaluable to your decision-making process that you see how they cope with new foreign youngsters in their classes. If you can find a way to talk to each other, don’t be afraid to ask questions about any area of the schooling system – for example, the cost of uniforms, books and pens, and what is expected of your child. Ask about the curriculum and what it involves, who the teachers are, class sizes and the holiday schedule.
You may be alarmed at the news that since the start of this school year, evolution is no longer being taught.
You may be alarmed at the news that since the start of this school year, evolution is no longer being taught. It is worth bearing in mind, however, that Turkish and other foreign children have been successfully educated in British schools, achieving significant successes often far ahead of the indigenous population, so have faith in your children’s abilities to adapt and learn.
A typical school day starts at 8.30am and the week is Monday to Friday. The school day comprises a morning and an afternoon session, except in overcrowded schools where a split session may be required. The academic year in Turkey begins in mid-September and extends through to early June. Not being a Christian country, there is no Christmas holiday or Easter holiday, but there is a two-week winter break in late-January/early February.
The Turkish education system is currently undergoing change, with a new 4+4+4 reform that has increased the duration of compulsory education from eight to 12 years. There is optional pre-primary schooling for children aged three to six years. After that, primary schooling is compulsory for children aged seven to 15 years; then secondary schooling for those aged 14 to 19, with optional higher education available at universities and colleges.
If the Turkish education system doesn’t appeal, there are plenty of international schools, mainly in the big cities. Before you shell out for your child to attend a private school, take a look at the background of the school, its successes and failures. Be sure to search out references from parents who can give you first-hand advice and let you know what your child can expect from their new school. There are private schools, such as Onder Colleges, which take a slightly different route on the curriculum, as well as offering more foreign languages, such as Spanish.
So you know the schools are okay, but what about Turkish healthcare? Download our brand new guide, Healthcare Abroad 2018.
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