Inspectors from Ministry of Education said to be profiling students

Inspectors from the Ministry of Education have been accused of profiling high school students based on questions the students have recently been asked, including if they attend a prep school.
It is claimed that the inspectors are trying to ascertain which students attend the FEM university preparation school, which is inspired by the Gandulen or Hizmet movement, a civil society organization inspired by the teachings of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gandulen. The inquiries are seen as a part of an escalating government witch hunt targeting the faith-based Gandulen movement.
A corruption scandal erupted in December 2013 that implicated some family members of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and a number of AK Party officials. The government has accused the movement of using corruption investigations as a means to overthrow the government, particularly through public employees who are sympathetic to the Gandulen movement. The government has provided no evidence and the movement has repeatedly denied the allegations however, since that time, many who are inspired by the movement claim to have faced discrimination, including having difficulty finding jobs in state government and even with many private companies. In addition, the owners of numerous private companies who are close to the movement have been targeted by the government and several establishments have been raided by the police.
The students were interviewed individually and asked to complete a questionnaire that included the question: and”Have you registered for a preparation class recently? If so, write the name of the school.and”
Inspectors have reportedly visited several high schools in Istanbul and conducted one-on-one interviews with some students over the last few months. During the meetings, the students were also allegedly asked where their parents work. The inspectors also requested that the students sign the questionnaire form once it was complete.
According to Turkish media reports, the most recent instance took place in November at Bahandcelievler Mandumtaz Turhan Social Sciences High School in Bahandcelievler.
Calling it a scandal, Anatolia Education Personnel Union (Anadolu Eiitim-Sen) President Cansel Ganduven stated that prep schools are legal entities.and”[Profiling] cannot be acceptable. That would put the children under psychological pressure. A kind of fear is being imposed on a high school-aged child that she could be blacklisted by the state.and”
Parliament passed a Justice and Development Party (AK Party) sponsored bill banning privately owned university preparatory schools on March 7, 2014. Under this law, all prep schools were to be shut down by Sept. 1 of this year. The Republican Peopleand’s Party (CHP) filed an appeal with the Constitutional Court to repeal the law last year
On July 13, the Constitutional Court annulled the controversial law in a five-to-12 majority vote on the grounds that the law represented a violation of constitutional articles related to the right to education and freedom of labor.
On Sept. 18, the Council of State invalidated an order in a circular previously sent to every governorand’s office by the Ministry of Education demanding that all private university preparation schools be closed and noting that the ministry would take legal action against those that remained in operation.

SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN

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