Turkish Education Ministry to put ‘creationism’ at center of biology curriculum, union says

The Education and Science Workers' Union (Eğitim-Sen) stated that Turkey’s Education Ministry plans to entirely eliminate the theory of evolution from the biology curriculum and put “creationism” in the center instead.

Duvar English

In a written statement on Feb. 21, the Education and Science Workers' Union (Eğitim-Sen) reacted against the new curriculum prepared by the Turkey’s Education Ministry, “which puts the creationism at the centre of the biology curriculum.”

According to the union, the ministry replaced the evolution theory with "creationism" and referred to evolution theory as "unproven theories.”

The creationism theory posits that a god or divine being created the universe and all living beings in their current form.

The ministry in 2016 completely removed the “The Beginning of Life and Evolution” unit from the curriculum in the secondary education biology course. Eğitim-Sen stated that during this process, the ministry "eliminated all information evoking the evolution theory from the textbooks one by one, even though it was in an extremely narrow framework.”

The union criticized the government's educational reforms, likening them to those implemented after the military coup in 1980. They argued that the changes promoted “religious teachings over secularism and science, emphasizing individualism, religious, and national values over other principles.”

Education Minister Yusuf Tekin on Dec. 7 announced that they finalized the curriculum changes for all levels of education. On Feb. 3, he added, “We completed studies for an education system of our own, that is built on our values and illuminated by our guidepost morals.”

Eğitim-Sen said that the text titled “Basic Philosophy and Special Objectives of the Biology Course Curriculum” prepared by the ministry summarized the new biology education. Accordingly, the ministry stated, “The theory of creation is adopted in the education and training processes carried out with the biology curriculum developed within the scope of the Turkey Century Education Model.”

“Turkey Century” is a term that has been used by the Turkish government to express its ideals for the second century of the Republic of Turkey.

Eğitim-Sen shared an excerpt from the said text prepared by the ministry to demonstrate the “mentality of the curriculum.” 

"Biological events emerge as a necessity of a plan and program, indicating the perfect balance and order seen in the universe and all living and non-living entities within it. Living beings create a perfect balance both in their structure and function and in perfect harmony with each other. The science of biology opens the door to understanding this flawless order of life, the intricate details of vitality, and the magnificent designs of creation,” the ministry stated in the text regarding the news curriculum. 

According to the Ministry, "students will be able to have a deeper understanding of the relationship between science and creation,” with the new biology course. The teachers’ union, on the other hand, underscored that the ministry “directly challenge science and scientific facts.”

The union concluded, “As Eğitim-Sen, we will continue to closely follow the preparations for the new curriculum and to defend secularism, science and scientific education.”

"Intelligent design," also known as "new creationism," originates from the United States and presents itself as an alternative to evolutionary theory, primarily promoted by Evangelical churches. Unlike scientific methodologies, this approach lacks empirical testing and is not rooted in scientific principles.