Müzeyyen Yüce / DUVAR

Education workers and students alike are concerned about students who will need to travel across district lines to take the Higher Education Entrance Exam (YKS) on June 27 and 28, potentially risking the further spread of COVID-19. 

Some 1,250 students from the southeastern Mardin’s Nusaybin district will need to travel to take the YKS, as their hometown of 108,172 residents will not have any testing centers on the day of the exams. 

Nusaybin students took to Twitter to protest the lack of testing centers in their hometown, noting that they will need to travel for at least an hour on the morning of the exams, losing sleep and risking being late.

“YKS needs to be held in Nusaybin too” was the hashtag that students used on Twitter to say, “no to a moving exam.” 

The chair of one of Turkey’s largest education unions, Feray Aytekin Aydoğan, noted that among some 2.5 million students taking the YKS, the ones who will need to travel across district lines will be victimized during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

“This will create a financial burden for travel, lodging and food. The increased activity around the exam will increase the risk of spreading the virus when we should be increasing prevention measures,” Turkey’s Union of Education Workers (Eğitim-Sen) chair Aydoğan said. 

Eğitim-Sen Nusaybin representative Yakup Taşçı noted that having 1,250 students travel outside the district would create a nationwide threat to public health.

“During these days when we’re even avoiding family members, these students and their families will have to stay in hotels. That will be increasingly difficult considering the restrictions on how many people can stay in hotels and can take public transportation,” Taşçı said. 

Taşçı noted that other nationwide exams have been held in districts smaller than Nusaybin, and demanded that a testing center open in the district. 

“The best exams are those that are closest to the students, and that is the basis for our request that the test be held in our district.”