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Turkish Village Institutes

A school system to train the teachers for rural areas.

Photo of Eray Alan
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Description from Wikipedia 

Students were selected among the most successful students in the villages and after taking education they went back to these villages to work as teachers because for the other people educated at the other teacher training schools, going to a village and being teachers those places are seen as obligatory works. However, the rate of literacy was so low like 5% in the early times of the Turkish Republic and the 80% of the total population were living at the villages. A pedagogist named Halil Fikret Kanad had been working on this project for a long time and he supported the idea of training ambitious teachers being volunteers at these villages.

Beginning in 1940, the village institutes started to be founded in the fields which are culvitable. In these schools founded at 21 different regions of Turkey, the teachers would teach villagers both how to read and write and the modern agriculture methods. Instead of education based on just books, they taught people by practicing things in the right place. With this purpose, all the schools had their own fields, farms, workshops and animals. Till it's closing, a lot of fields became useful for agriculture and the production in these fields increased. A great number of warehouses, new roads and buildings were built by the people educating at these schools. Until 1954 when they were closed, 1.308 women and 15.943 men, namely totally 17.251 people were educated as teachers.

The schools were built near the cultivable fields because one of the aims of these institutes is to teach people the new methods for agriculture. The education in village institutes included both practical (agriculture, construction, arts and crafts etc.) and classical (mathematics, science, literature, history etc.) courses. A teacher graduated from these institutes is not only a primary school teacher but also has some practical knowledge about many areas such as apiculture, fisheries, carpentry...etc. Even the buildings for these schools were built by the teachers sent there with the help of the villagers. Their daily routine included morning gymnastics, reading hours and farming. Each student has to read 25 books for each year and learn hot to play a musical instrument. . They also had weekly meetings in which students can freely criticize teachers and school administration. These institutes became good and rare examples of learning by doing and from this aspect they became the subjects for many studies.


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