EAEA in Turkey: Turkish housewives trained as active citizens

Tue 15 Jan 2013 11:23:00 AM EET

EAEA Executive Board held its last meeting of 2012 in Istanbul, Turkey. In conncetion, the Board had a chance to visit two local Adult Education Centres.

During the last few years Turkey has developed a lot; gross domestic product increased over 8 % in 2011.

"Fast growth and development is visible also in the education sector", says Deputy Director Zekine Dayioglu from the Istanbul District Directorate of Ministry of Education. She is in charge of the Eyüp Adult Education Centres.

In addition to vocational training, Eyüp offers non-formal education. Distance learning is one of the current hot topics.

Hobby courses attract participants

Istanbul also facilitates another Adult Education Centre, ISMEK (Istanbul Municipality Cukursbostan). It has 228 learning centres throughout the metropolis.

"The studies we offer are mainly hobby courses, including traditional handicrafts, calligraphy and art. But we also offer vocational training for the needs of the industry, because the formal education cannot meet the needs", the Director of Education Mehmet Dogan tells.

ISMEK also offers courses on European Union: human rights, democracy and European values are a part of the educational programme. In Eyüp English language courses are very popular and mostly attended by young generations.

Demand exceeds supply

A vast majority, up to 70-80 %, of the students of non-formal education centres are women.
"A large number of our students are housewives. We want to change the idea of people sitting at home and make them useful for the society. We want to transfer them to citizens of the city", ISMEK´s Dogan says.

He estimates that alone in Istanbul there would be 370.000 potential students, but because of the lack of resources, ISMEK can only teach 220.000 people this year. Over the 16 operational years of ISMEK, already 1.4 million Istanbulites have attended ISMEK´s courses. The Education Centre has a staff of 3.400.
"We are a very big family", Mehmet Dogan adds.

EAEA Board as well as the EAEA staff members taking part to the visits were very impressed of both Turkish adult education centres they visited. The hospitality of the centres was exceptional and highly appreciated by EAEA.

Same problems everywhere

During the Executive Board meeting in Istanbul EAEA also arranged a seminar to discuss the current situation of adult learning in Turkey with local colleagues. The Turkish colleagues kindly gave their helpful input to the discussion.

To a large extent, the concerns are same as in the rest of Europe. Especially validation and certification of learning should be improved.

"It could be helpful for Turkey to follow the implementation of the European Qualifications Framework in the Member States", EAEA President Sue Waddington proposed.

EAEA wants to express their gratitude to the Turkish colleagues once more and is looking forward to continuing the cooperation.

Text: Aura Vuorenrinne