Instructional actions in Turkey in Africa (ANALYSIS)

AA / Istanbul / Mahmut Mustafa Ozdil

Mahmut Mustafa Özdil, a member of the board of the Maarif Foundation of Türkiye, conducted an analysis of Türkiy’s educational activities in Africa on behalf of Anadol.

Given the consequent impact of education on employment, employee remuneration and economic growth, the right to access quality education is considered one of the pillars of sustainable development both in the United Nations (UN) 2030 goals and in the African Union strategy. A paper entitled “Agenda 2063”. Türkiye’s contributions to “quality education” have reached a significant global level over the last five years.

– The Maarif Foundation is present in 27 African countries

In addition to schools opened abroad by the Turkish Ministry of National Education to find solutions to the educational problems of Turkish citizens living outside their country, the Maarif Foundation of Türkiye now offers formal and non-formal education services and even accommodation for more than 50,000 pupils and students of various nationalities. , with 461 educational facilities open in 49 countries around the world.

Türkiye is thus one of the 5 best countries in the world in terms of the expansion of international school chains thanks to the work of the Maarif Foundation, which implements educational activities in 20 countries included in the list of least developed countries. In line with deepening and strengthening relations with Africa, 27 of the 49 countries in which the Maarif de Türkiye Foundation operates are located on the African continent.

– Türkiye’s training activities in Africa have not started with or are limited to the Maarifa Foundation.

The Yunus Emre Institute is based in 9 countries on the African continent, from north to south. Departments of Turcology and Centers of Turkish Studies are established in collaboration with well-known universities on the continent. Mention may also be made of the support provided by the Technical University of Istanbul for the creation of engineering faculties, the first example of which can be seen in Djibouti. In addition to studies by the International University of Health Sciences, Turkish universities’ Erasmus + projects are examples of Türkiye’s educational activities in Africa. .

In addition, Imam Hatip’s international high schools and theological programs have been successfully run for some time by the Diyanet Foundation, the Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA) for educational projects, scholarships for studies offered to African students by the Turkish Presidency in

Abroad and Associated Communities (YTBs) are gaining ground as additional flagship institutions.

In addition to providing continuing studies through education agreements, the Ministry of Education adds additional dimensions to the educational activities that Türkiye carries out in Africa through efforts in areas such as vocational education and training.

The establishment of the Maarif Foundation of Türkiye in 2016, added to the activities of other institutions in countries where Maarif opened educational institutions, facilitated the coordination of activities between these institutions and saved time, energy and other resources.

– Africa is not one country

The activities of the Maarif Foundation from the Turkish chain of international schools in Africa cover the content of education as well as the building of the legal and physical base that will enable this education. To succeed in this area, it is necessary to be able to develop original solutions to various problems that arise at different levels, some of which are universal, others local.

Firstly, although within the African Union, of which all countries of the continent are members without exception, a pan-African approach integrating its differences is accepted, Africa is not limited to one country.

The perception of “poor Africa without history and civilization, consisting of endless deserts and jungles,” must also be erased.

We must also learn to build just relations and not forget that we are deprived of the extraordinary wealth of contributions that Africans can offer the world as a result of a shameful anomaly, colonization.

– End of FETÖ activities in the region

Many studies on improving the quality and success of education claim that the physical condition of schools has a very limited impact on student outcomes. However, given that more than half of compulsory school children in Africa do not have access to education, even if they wish, due to a lack of sufficient classes, it is clear that action will not make sense without some material “presence”. In some African countries, where one textbook can be used by seven pupils, there are no teacher training programs. There are other problems, such as the fact that the language spoken at home often differs from the “official” language taught in school, or the use of colonial-era curricula and teaching techniques, detached from the reality and needs of the country.

It must not be forgotten that the schools affiliated to FETÖ, which have been operating in African countries since the 1990s, also cause multidimensional damage in the educational environment of those countries. It is necessary to clarify that FETÖ is a cult that severely defends the free will of individuals and does not hesitate to resort to violence, corruption, fraud and all illegal means to achieve these goals.

Over the last five years, 118 schools affiliated to FETÖ in 16 African countries have been transferred to the Maarif Foundation of Turkey in accordance with the requests of the countries concerned. The smooth running of the transfer processes and the marked improvement in academic performance and the physical level of the schools after the transfer have led to a strengthening of confidence in Türkiye on the continent.

However, limiting all of Maarif’s activities to this period of transformation of FETÖ-related schools and evaluating them on this axis alone would distort reality.

– Specific answers to complex questions

The Maarif Foundation of Turkey aims to ensure interaction between different cultures, create equality relationships, create a state of mind that considers differences to be rich, and create a dynamic educational climate that allows all actors involved in educational processes to exchange and reproduce information. The greatest benefit of the Maarif Foundation schools in Türkiye will be an original educational approach based on local conditions and real needs in the field.

At the heart of this original approach is a dynamic program design that responds to real needs and adapts to changing conditions in each country, while maintaining its standard with a strong student profile.

Students will receive a solid education that will allow them to pursue higher education and build a life of their choice in any country in the world after high school. It is therefore important that pupils and students protect their own historical and cultural heritage, their identity as intelligent, conscientious, arbitrary and active individuals, and avoid deviating from their own nature.

In this sense, students at the Maarif Foundation of Turkey receive quality science and mathematics education, as well as a solid education in the social sciences, so that they can better understand the world in which they live. In addition, the aim of the training is to learn and achieve a good level in Turkish and another foreign language, such as English or French, in addition to their mother tongue. It also focuses on supporting the educational process of pupils and students with the use of new technologies and ensuring respect for cultural differences in schools.

In addition, it must be emphasized that education is always a public service. Although the Maarif Foundation has private educational institutions, close cooperation is developing with all official bodies, especially with the Ministries of Education of the countries in which it operates. In this context, and under public responsibility, deserving children and young students who do not have access to quality education are supported through various scholarships and support programs. Schools should also not be centers for one-way and static information transfer in order to instill in students ideas of consciousness and self-confidence that will affect the fate of their own country, as well as to provide pupils and students with high academic standards.

We must also not forget that children and young students need to be provided with suitable ground on which to discover and realize their potential.

*[Mahmut Mustafa Özdil, membre du Conseil d’Administration de la Fondation Maarif de Türkiye]

** Translated from Turkish by Alex Sinhan Bogmis

[**Les opinions exprimées dans cet article n’engagent que leur auteur et ne reflètent pas

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