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Impossibilities of education caused by the state in Western Thrace02 September 2018

The main problems in the field of education are usually linked with the denial of the ethnic identity. The Turkish curriculum is tried to be removed systematically by the state.

An example of the problems linked with the denial of the ethnic identity is the lack of bilingual kindergartens. The bilingual criteria in kindergartens have main importance in social and cultural harmony with their own society and the Greek society. When there is a lack of bilingualism it is usually observed that the children suffer from adaptation problems with the Greek society as they meet for the first time with the Greek language and face with a cultural shock. When it is taken into consideration that Kindergartens are part of the compulsory education for the minority in Greece, the demand of opening bilingual kindergartens has not been fulfilled yet.

The closing and merging minority primary schools are another problem in education. According to a new legislation put in effect in 2011, primary schools are closing down or merging every year with an excuse that the primary schools have a lack of students. However, there is a paradox that the same legislation does not concern the Greek primary schools.

Another sad point is that there are only two minority high schools in Komotini (Gümülcine) and Xanthi (İskeçe) and they have about 1200 students.  It is obvious that only two minority high schools are insufficient for students who live in a 150.000 populated society. The promise of the Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on solving this problem ended with a disappointment as there were only opened 3 more classrooms in the Minority High School of Xanthi.

One of the most important issues is the lack of qualified teachers. Before 2002, there were teachers assigned by Turkey according to an agreement which was also valid for the Greek Minority in Istanbul. After that time on, assigning teachers by Turkey was forbidden.

The last problem is about the school books. The school books are not updated in the minority high schools, therefore it makes the adaptation to the era impossible. The problem of the school books is not only that they are not updated, but there are also some censored words. For example, some provinces in Turkey like Istanbul, Ankara, and İzmir are replaced with Athens, Thessaloniki, and Kavala.

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