Deputy Minister of National Education Mahmut Özer evaluated the point reached in the 6 Schools in Vocational Education Project initiated 1000 months ago in an interview he gave to a newspaper.
The number of students enrolled in vocational education is also increasing every year. The Ministry is trying to spread this improvement in vocational education to all 3 thousand 574 vocational high schools. For this purpose, the Ministry, which determines 1.000 vocational high schools, which are relatively disadvantaged according to some parameters among these schools, implemented the '1.000 Schools in Vocational Education' project at the end of 2020, which includes significant investments from students to teachers, from physical infrastructure to enriching educational environments in these schools. Within the scope of the project, approximately 500 million TL was invested in these schools. With this project, MEB aims both to increase the quality of vocational high schools and to reduce the difference in success between school types.
When you started this project, we had a short interview covering the goals of the project and the steps taken. It has been about six months since the project started. Can you explain step by step what has been done in this process?
As you know, due to the Covid-19 outbreak, education is largely conducted through distance education. For this reason, we focused on improving the physical environment of the schools in the project. First, we reviewed the physical infrastructure of 1.000 schools. We did small and large-scale repairs of school buildings. In 2020, we used 50 million TL for this purpose. In 2021, we made an allowance of 1.000 million TL to complete the repairs in 250 schools and the retrofitting of buildings within the scope of retrofitting. Therefore, we will have used 1.000 million TL by the end of this year to strengthen the physical infrastructure of 300 schools.
What have you done to enrich the educational environments of 1.000 schools?
First, we established libraries in all 1.000 schools. This was a very important step. Within the scope of the project, there is no school without a library. Then we reviewed the physics-chemistry-biology laboratory infrastructure. Before the project started, 485 of our schools did not have these laboratories. We removed the required allowance immediately. We established these laboratories in 50 schools in a short time. We will complete the rest by the end of May. Therefore, by the end of May, we will have reached the target of 1.000 libraries and 1.000 physics-chemistry-biology laboratories in 1.000 schools. Another shortcoming we saw in our reviews was smart boards. In order to meet this need, we have installed 1.646 smart boards in our schools so far. We will increase the number of smart boards to 5.000 by the end of May.
What did you do to strengthen the vocational workshop and laboratory infrastructure?
Within the scope of the project, we aimed to update and establish new workshops and laboratories in all 1.000 schools. We strengthened the existing occupational laboratories and workshops in five months. We made new workshops. So far, we have completed an investment of approximately 200 million TL. On the other hand, we have taken two new steps in this context. As you know, the use of experiment sets is very important in vocational education. First of all, we started to produce experiment sets in vocational high schools with strong infrastructure. Vocational high schools have now begun to produce their own experiment sets.
We are starting to use the first productions made in this context in 1.000 schools. As a second step, we made the workshop inventory of vocational education schools and institutions in all provinces. We have started to transfer the unused workshops and experiment sets to schools within the scope of this project, primarily in schools in the scope of 1.000 schools in that province, and in other provinces, if there is no need. Thus, we ensured an efficient sharing of the existing infrastructure without transferring any resources. We have taken an important step in meeting the needs of our schools with available resources.
The last issue you touched on is very important. With this approach, resources will be used efficiently.
Yes. We both use idle experiment sets and provide these needed experiment sets free of charge. Thus, we can enrich our educational environments without making new investments. This approach is important for vocational high schools to become institutions that can meet their own needs and share their resources under appropriate conditions.
Professional Development Training for 222 thousand 848 teachers The project awareness of the administrators and teachers in 1.000 schools is very important for the success of the project. What did you do about this?
Our first priority at the beginning of the project was to increase the project awareness of our administrators and teachers in 1.000 schools. In this context, we have organized 4 thousand 349 trainings so far and a total of 90 thousand 958 school administrators and teachers have attended these trainings. We were not satisfied with that. We organized 821 personal development and leadership training for school administrators within the scope of the project. 9 thousand 224 school administrators attended these trainings. After this stage, we started to organize thematic professional development trainings for our teachers. Assessment and Evaluation Services General Directorate provided assessment and evaluation training to 67 teachers. In addition, 500 vocational teachers were trained on intellectual property and industrial rights by the Science and Art Centers (BİLSEM) affiliated to our General Directorate of Special Education and Guidance Services. In addition, 40 thousand teachers were provided with first aid awareness training. Therefore, 166 teachers and administrators in 15 schools have received different professional development training so far. In other words, our teachers in these schools received at least 1.000 different professional development training. These trainings continue in accordance with the planned schedule.
What did you do to the students in these schools? Has schools continued distance education disruption in your plans?
Of course, the Covid-19 outbreak affected everything as well as our project. Approximately 600 thousand students receive education in these schools. Of course, we have difficulties in reaching all of them in this process. In this process, we are trying to support our students with more distance education platforms. Within the scope of the project, we developed support education programs in order for students to compensate for their basic skill deficiencies. 43 thousand 609 students have attended these programs developed by our General Directorate of Assessment and Examination Services so far. This number is increasing with each passing day. Within this program, we delivered 880 materials to 305 schools. On the other hand, we provided first aid awareness training to 825 students with the contribution of our Support Services General Directorate. We placed emphasis on supporting affective and social skills of students as well as their cognitive skills. Our General Directorate of Special Education and Counseling Services prepared a comprehensive psychosocial development support program for our students in 34 schools within the scope of the project. Within the scope of the program, we have provided psychosocial development support to 404 thousand 1.000 students so far. In addition, we organized 101 informative events on substance addiction. 622 thousand 3 students attended these events. Within the scope of the project, 386 career days were organized in schools to share the experiences of successful and well-known people in fields such as science, culture, arts, sports and industry. 151 thousand 116 students attended these events. We aimed to organize many cultural, artistic and sports events within the scope of the project. For this purpose, 813 activities have been held so far and 44 thousand 708 students have attended these activities. In summary, 690 students have attended the personal development activities we organized for our students so far. The events are still going on and this number is constantly increasing. We try to reach all our students as much as possible with the support of our 13 provincial directors.
Within the scope of the project, educational support was planned for parents within the scope of lifelong learning. What did you do about this?
Within the scope of the project, we organize public education courses for the demands of the parents. In addition, we try to reach parents and enroll in open secondary schools and open high schools to support them in continuing their education. We aim to enable 50 thousand parents to participate in open education by the end of April.
In the project, you have implemented the event 'Fine Arts High School Students Meet 1.000 School Students' for 1000 school students. How is this event going?
Within the scope of this activity, our volunteer students studying at Fine Arts High Schools started to transfer their knowledge and experience in the field of music and painting to 81 school students one hour, two days a week, in online groups formed after the matching of schools in 1.000 provinces in March, under the supervision of their teachers. This two-month event continues successfully. At the end of April, the works developed in this activity in the field of painting and music in each city will be evaluated and gifts such as computers and tablets will be given to our students who rank among the top three in 81 cities in each branch. 1.000 students from 6 schools attended this event. 64 Fine Arts High School students voluntarily participated in the trainings. In addition, 978 teachers in Fine Arts High Schools voluntarily supervise activities. A very successful peer education continues among different school types. This activity is beneficial in increasing the interaction between different high school types and enabling students to share their skills with other students.