May 2012 Church & State | AU Bulletin

The Turkish parliament has approved an education bill that some say would advance an Islamic agenda and lower standards of education.

The measure, which passed on March 30, would permit religious schools to accept students from the age of 11 instead of 15, and it would allow other schools to offer classes on the Koran and to teach about the life of Muhammad, according to a Reuters report.

The legislation would also require students to complete 12 years of school instead of eight. But some say the quality of that education would decrease because parents have the option of sending their children to technical colleges or sending them to train for low-paid, blue collar or service industry jobs.

The measure was highly contentious, provoking a brawl among members of the country’s parliament. It also led to large protests by secular Turks and teachers.

President Abdullah Gul, however, is expected to sign the measure into law.