Turkish Gov't. Seeks to Islamize Education

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A series of reforms proposed by Turkey's National Educational Council would impose Islamic ideology on the nation's youth, the Turkish daily Hürriyet reported on Thursday.

Various commissions within the council proposed a series of reforms that would return Turkey's primary school education to its former structure, which was abandoned in the late 90s.

Proposed reforms include splitting up the eight-year continuous primary education, separating boys and girls, and reopening Islamic vocational schools, called imam-hatip, for younger students.

"The eight-year primary education system aimed to close the imam-hatip middle schools," Zübeyde Kılıç, chairman of the Education and Science Personnel Union, told Hürriyet. 

"Splitting it up is likely to be a step toward reopening these schools in line with the ideological mindset of the ruling government," he said.

The National Educational Council also recommended that Islamic terminology be used to teach young students about "faith in God." 

According to the report, the council is dominated by members of Erdogan's government who intimidated opponents of the reforms.

"The participants in the council couldn't express their reservations freely for fear they would be tarnished by the government," Yüksel Adıbelli, president of the Education and Science Employee Union, said, according to the report.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Recep Erdogan and his ruling Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) have sought to move the country away from its secular governing tradition.

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