Just 11.1 percent of students taking the High School Entrance Exam (LGS) preferred to attend imam hatip religious high schools, according to recent figures from the Education Ministry.Turkey's Islamic high school occupancy rate reaches 99.8 percent
Meanwhile, 46.7 percent of the 1.47 million students that took the exam indicated that they preferred to attend science high schools.
The reign of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has coincided with the opening of large numbers of religious schools throughout the country, as the government aims to raise a pious generation.
More than 4000 religious schools have opened since Erdoğan came to power, though the schools are increasingly unpopular and students who attend them tend to perform lower academically on average than secular-oriented schools.
Many poor students in Turkey are forced to attend the imam hatip schools due to lack of options where they live, or based on unsatisfactory performance on the entrance exams that results in them having no other option.