Academic journal article Italian Sociological Review

How Do Different Ethnicities Approach to the Education System and Differences in Turkey? 1

Academic journal article Italian Sociological Review

How Do Different Ethnicities Approach to the Education System and Differences in Turkey? 1

Article excerpt


The necessity of living together, which is one of the requirements of globalization, brings important problems in itself unless proper policies are implemented. In order to have people of different beliefs and societies living together, it is important to develop a sense of awareness since cultural diversity has become an important part of human society in today's world (Bekemans, 2014), including educational institutions (Mishra, 2014).

Multiculturalism is seen as a remedy to the violence and contradictions resulting from ethnic differences (Clyne and Jupp, 2011). On the other hand, there are claims that multiculturalism results in separation of societies since it brings the differences rather than similarities to the forefront (Inglis, 1996; Davies, 2010).

A central factor to the unifying and divisive potentials of multiculturalism is immigration, especially in economically, politically and socially developed countries. Countries considered to be more liberal have offered refuge to different cultural and ethnic groups within their boundaries (Kivisko, 2004). As of the year 2006, 22% of the Australian population; as of 2001, 18.4% of the population in Canada; as of 2000, 12% of the population in the United States of America and 9.1% of the population of the United Kingdom were born in countries other than where they reside (Forest ve Dunn, 2010). Regardless of the increasing proportion of multiculturalism in those societies, there is a sense of hesitation towards addressing these differences in schools (Vertovec and Wessendorf, 2009). In this regard, a study conducted in 2004 in Australia shows that 85% of the participants considered multiculturalism to be an important factor for the democratization of Australian society. The findings of the same study, however, also revealed that 45% of the participants expressed hesitation towards multiculturalism since the inclusion of many ethnicities might weaken the Australian society (Dunn, et. al, 2004).

According to an analysis of census records from the year 2000, 1.260.530 people living in Turkey were born in another country. The study also reports the number of foreign people living in Turkey by the year 2000 to be 267.441. (Yakar, 2013). An important finding of this study is that the immigration-from-Turkey process that started by 1950s started to change to immigration-to-Turkey for several reasons, including immigration policies enforced by European countries and the development of Turkey in social, political and economic areas. Since migration patterns to Turkey involve people from multiple ethnicities and nationalities, Turkey has become more diverse in the past decade.

Some believe that multiculturalism and the increase in the population of different ethnic groups will raise concerns in all social institutions, including education. To address these concerns, we recommend Sapin's approach to multicultural education. The country is composed of different ethnic groups and administrations, and even though the central ministry of education has certain roles, the regional education authorities have voices on deciding the curriculum to be followed in schools (Hatt and Issa, 2008). In 2006 made, the education ministry established the course Citizenship and Human Rights Education a requirement for all schools in Spain. Although this was seen as a step forward regarding teaching tolerance, there are discussions about how the course will be taught in autonomous regions (Hatt and Issa, 2008; Tarman and Acun, 2010).

There are researchers claiming that the national education system in Turkey ignores the cultural differences in the society and the nationalistic education policies bring cultural clashes rather than social cohesion and solidarity (Çayir, 2010). In contrast, other researchers have stated that both teachers and students have some level of hesitation in talking about their own rights and realities and the reason of this hesitation is told to be the fear towards criticizing the state's official ideology (Firat, 2010). …

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