92 percent of autistic children deprived of right to education in Turkey

Citing studies conducted by NGOs, main opposition CHP MP Sibel Özdemir has said that there are approximately 500,000 children diagnosed with autism in the 0-19 age group across Turkey and that 92 percent of them are not provided with education. The MP's remarks came after the Turkish Education Ministry announced that a mere 41,854 pupils diagnosed with autism were registered in the e-school system.

Serkan Alan / DUVAR 

Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) MP Sibel Özdemir brought the issue of autistic children’s right to education to parliament and filed a parliamentary question Education Minister Mahmut Özer. 

Responding to Özdemir’s question, Özer announced that there were 41,854 pupils diagnosed with autism in the e-school system. Özer added that 19,357 teachers dealt with those pupils in 1,521 private education institutions throughout the country.

Referring to studies conducted by NGOs, Özdemir stated that there were at least 150,000 children diagnosed with autism in the 0-14 age group across Turkey. She also emphasized that 500,000 children in the 0-19 age group were waiting for education and that 92 percent of children do not take part in the education system

Mahmut Özer said that his ministry was working to improve the integration of pupils with special needs and that 638 support rooms and 174 special education classes had been opened.

“Only 638 support education rooms in the country were equipped according to the necessary standards,” Özdemir warned.

“Aside from the quality of the education, children with autism are only provided two hours of education per week, whereas 40 hours of training are provided in Europe. Therefore, the right of autistic children to both access and receive quality education in Turkey is seriously violated,” the MP lamented.