When asked whether it could provide information about how many students aged 4-6 took Qur’an courses in turkey from 2018 to 2020, the Turkish Education Ministry said they couldn’t provide the data, according to reporting by daily Birgün.
Qur’an courses have been the subject of fervent debate in recent years, with the Justice and Development Party (AKP)-led government promoting courses for children as young as four years old. The government has allocated significant funding through the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) for the development of these courses.
However, it appears they do not keep track of who enrolls in them. According to the Education Ministry’s activity report, the records “could not be kept properly” for the years from 2018 to 2020. Data kept by the Diyanet states that from 2020 to 2021, a total of 181,808 students attended Qur’an courses. However, earlier data is absent.
"There is no data in our Ministry regarding the subject expressed in the motion,” the Ministry said in response to the request for data.
The AKP-led government has consistently failed against its stated goal of increasing education for preschool-aged children. According to official data, overall education enrollment for children aged 3-5 stands at 48%.
Daily Birgün also said that the Education Ministry has been actively encouraging children to work rather than to be students. A social post by the Ministry this week advertised a program by which students would go to school one day a week and work the remaining four. Turkey already has a widespread child labor issue.
“30% of the minimum wage will be received by 9th, 10th, and 11th-grade students, and at least 50 percent of the minimum wage will be given to 12th-grade students,” the social media post advertised.