Kurdology students criticize ministry’s appointment of only 3 Kurdish language teachers in 2022

The Turkish Education Ministry has allocated only three quotas for the "Living Languages and Dialects" department among other 20,000 teachers to be appointed in 2022. Kurdology students think that their departments will be closed with these limited quotas.

Fırat Bulut / DUVAR

Turkey’s Education Ministry (MEB) will appoint only three teachers for the Living Languages and Dialects department in 2022; two for Kurmanji, one for Zazaki.

Students and alumni of this department emphasized that they could not find work on the subject they studied, and they feared that their interest in their department would fade over time.

Turkey’s Council of Higher Education (YÖK) approved the "Kurdish Language and Literature" department in universities in 2011. 

Following this move, Kurdish Language and Literature departments were opened in Mardin Artuklu, Muş Alparslan and Bingöl universities, and Zaza Language and Literature departments were opened in Bingöl and Tunceli universities. 

Students and graduates of Kurdish/Zaza Language and Literature departments from Bingöl University in eastern Turkey criticized the very limited quotas of the MEB for the appointment.

Newly graduated Tarık Yorgun told Gazete Duvar that there is a huge need for Kurdish teachers, but it is political to not appoint more of them. 

Yorgun said that these departments were opened during the peace process and “with the end of the process, the approach of both the state and the students to these departments has changed, their interest has decreased. The political atmosphere in Turkey determines the interest in the department.”

Known by the Turkish public as “the resolution process,” adopted between 2013 and 2015, the negotiations between state officials and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) concentrated on the implementation of reforms ensuring democratization and recognition of the cultural and political rights of Kurds in the country.

“When appointments are kept so limited, people lose hope. One or two people are appointed each year. Last year, only seven students enrolled in the Kurdish Language and Literature department at Bingöl University,” he added.

Stating that he is unemployed, Yorgun said that the department is a gain of the Kurdish people and that it should be embraced and preferred despite all the negativities.

Another graduate student Diren Cengiz stated that Zazaki is on the verge of disappearing.

Cengiz said, “ 20,000 students chose Kurdish as an elective course (in schools), but the ministry will appoint only three teachers.”

“Today, I have to work 10-11 hours a day in a job that has nothing to do with the department I studied to survive. My goal, of course, was not to be appointed when I enrolled in the Zazaki department, but to learn about my mother tongue. However, I would like to do a job related to the department I studied,” Cengiz added.

(English version by Alperen Şen)