Lawmakers of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its right-wing ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) on June 2 voted down a proposal to postpone the university and highschool admission exams amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The proposal was submitted by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) parliamentary group on June 1, on the first day that the Turkish parliament reopened after more than six weeks of closure due to the virus outbreak.
As the AKP and MHP lawmakers have a majority in the parliament, the CHP’s proposal was rejected.
“The parliamentary motion which our group submitted to have the YKS and LGS exams postponed has been rejected by the votes of the AKP and MHP!” CHP lawmaker Burhanettin Bulut wrote on Twitter, referring to the acronyms of the Higher Education Entrance Exams (YKS) and High School Entrance Exam (LGS).
Last month, despite criticism, the government decided to move up the dates of high school and university exams.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on May 4 that the university placement exam will take place June 27 and 28, previously scheduled for July 25 and 26, whereas the high school entrance exam will be conducted on June 20, as previously announced.
The government’s move prompted outrage among students who said that the disarray in the exam dates would negatively affect their studying routine as well as motivation.
Students even launched the hashtag #SandiktaGorusuruz (We’ll see you at the ballot box) on May 4 on Twitter.
Eğitim-Sen, one of Turkey’s largest education unions, also protested Ankara’s decision to move up the exams, noting that the nationwide events will draw large crowds outside.
The CHP raised this issue in the parliament on June 1, with the lawmaker Yıldırım Kaya saying: “Youngsters and children who will take the LGS and YKS are saying that they are scared [of the virus] and their psychology cannot handle these exams currently and demand that the exams are postponed to a future date.”
The parliamentary motion submitted by the CHP asked why the Education Ministry is “insistent” on holding the LGS on June 20, despite postponing two other nationwide exams.
“Some of the exam dates have been brought forward citing the risk of Covid-19, whereas a contrary move has been undertaken for some other exams; why is this the case?” the CHP’s motion asked.