‘Family values’ classes impede diversity, criticizes Turkish teachers’ union

Turkey’s Education Workers Union (Eğitim-Sen) on Dec. 13 criticized the high school-level “family values” classes introduced by the Education Ministry in August for promoting a uniform definition of family. 

Duvar English

Turkey’s Education Workers and Teachers’ Union (Eğitim-Sen) on Dec. 13 criticized the high school-level elective courses on “family values” introduced by the Education Ministry in late August for seeking to promote uniform family units.

Turkish Education Ministry introduced two elective courses named “The Family in Turkish Social Life,” and “Etiquette” at the high school level in late August.

The courses teach that starting a family is fitting to human nature and the Quran and Prophet Mohammad’s teachings encourage respect for mother and father, emphasizing close familial relations.

Union head Nejla Kurul interpreted the classes as a darker turn by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in an effort to inject religion into education, the daily Cumhuriyet reported on Dec. 13.

Kurul recalled previous projects by the Education Ministry like increasing religion classes among the mandatory elective courses and the “I am sensitive to my environment, I claim my values” (ÇEDES) program.

“The government continues to abuse society’s religious sensitivities to push its agenda on education,” said Kurul. She stated that the government’s vision for the “ideal family” was apparent from its withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention.

The courses seek to promote a patriarchal family that frames domestic violence as a mere dispute, according to union head Kurul.

Kurul said that such classes tried to promote a unified picture of the family, and added “But life is far more complex than the walls the government tries to build around the family.”