Students in Cizre take TEOG exam under shadow of curfew, clashes

The TEOG exam was adopted at the beginning of the 2013-2014 academic year as a new high school admission mechanism, replacing the previous Level Determination Examination (SBS). According to the TEOG system, eighth-graders must sit for 12 exams on six subjects during the academic year. Students take six tests in the fall semester and the remaining six during the spring semester.

A police inspector and a civilian were killed as a result of clashes between terrorist PKK militants and security forces in Cizre on Tuesday. Following these two successive attacks, the Sırnak Governor’s Office imposed a curfew in the Yafes and Sur neighborhoods as of 4 p.m. on Tuesday. The curfew was lifted at 6 a.m. on Wednesday.

The clashes, which continued throughout the night, turned Cizre into a battlefield. Dozens of vehicles were set on fire and many houses and offices were partly or completely destroyed due to the constant gunfire.

The students who were waiting for the exam were concerned over whether they would be able to take the exam. After the governor’s office announced the end of the curfew, students rushed to schools to sit the exam. However, they complained they could not sleep the night before due to gunfire, adding that they had been adversely affected by the clashes.

Students in Nusaybin unable to take exam due to curfew

While students in Cizre sat for the TEOG exam under tension, those in the town of Nusaybin, in Mardin province, which was placed under a curfew imposed on Nov. 13 and lifted on Thursday, were unable to take the exam due to the two-week-long curfew and heavy clashes. Those students will sit the TEOG exam on Dec. 12 and 13.

Some of the students in Nusaybin took to Twitter on Wednesday night to express their frustrations. “There is still no electricity in some neighborhoods in Nusaybin. If the curfew is not lifted, some residents will starve to death in their homes. Some people do not have any food to eat here,” a student in Nusaybin wrote.

Another one wrote: “People living in the west [western Turkey] do not care about what is happening here [in the Southeast]. Most of them consider us terrorists.”

Another student expressed his concerns over the TEOG exam in a tweet to Ekol Hoca’s Twitter account on Wednesday night, stating: “The curfew is entering its 14th day. We cannot attend preparation courses due to the curfew. I really don’t know what to do on the exams.”

Ekol Hoca is a teacher who has been providing online lessons to students, especially those preparing for nationwide exams, via the live video streaming application Periscope.

Other student from Nusaybin also sent tweets to Ekol Hoca on Wednesday, complaining about their inability to study for their approaching exams during the curfew. “There was no electricity in our place for eight days. We could not study during the day due to gunfire and at night because there was no power.”

The authorities placed Nusaybin under a round-the-clock curfew on Nov. 13 as part of an operation launched by security forces to clear trenches and barricades from the streets. The curfew was lifted as of Thursday morning. During the curfew, clashes continued in Nusaybin between security forces and members of the Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement (YDG-H), an affiliate of the terrorist PKK, in three neighborhoods in particular.

The curfew forced residents to live as though they were in prison for the past two weeks. There were power and water cuts for days in the town, leaving locals to suffer dire living conditions. The only way for them to go outside was to wave white flags. Some using white flags were able to take the injured to hospitals by ambulance.

Education Personnel Union (Egitim-Sen) Hakkari branch President Suleyman Askan told the Cihan news agency the several-day-long curfews implemented in southeastern towns have dealt a big blow to education in those places.

Saying no one can even think about education in a place where people fear for the safety of their lives, Askan said the TEOG exam in Nusaybin was postponed but it should also have been postponed in other tense towns such as Yuksekova in Hakkari province and Cizre. “Students [in those towns] were not able to go to schools for days due to the long curfews. Those students took the same exam with other students who have been going to schools regularly in cities such as Ankara and İstanbul. This is not fair at all.”


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