The modernization of education in kemalist turkey

Michael Winter*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In order to evaluate the extent of educational modernization in Kemalist Turkey, one must study the history of Turkish education before the establishment of the Republic as well as developments after Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's death in 1938. Elementary education, especially in the villages, was generally given in the Koran schools, whose ultimate goal was to train a child to become a hafiz, a man who knows the Koran by heart. Atatürk, with his excellent sense of timing, waited for the right moment; then, with one bold stroke, he unified the school system through the Law for the Unification of Instruction of 1924. The official Kemalist attitude was that religious instruction should be given privately at home and not in school, but the authorities acted cautiously. There has been a steady decline in private primary schools since the Atatürk era, no doubt as a result of the Law for the Unification of Instruction and subsequent measures.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAtaturk and the Modernization of Turkey
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9780429705908
ISBN (Print)9780367020354
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019


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