Parents Protest About Dilapidated School Buildings

Parents protest at rundown school buildings
[Parents and Children Protest about State of Education]
Sunday 29 October 2023

Parents of school children concerned about the unsafe condition of some school buildings have asked the Minister of Education, Nazım Çavuşoğlu, if he wants to be remembered in history as the “minister who killed?

Organised under the name of the “Movement for Secular Democratic Education,” parents said, “If you are unwilling to relinquish your positions and seats, know that the positions may be yours, but the children are ours“.

Gathering at the Gönyeli roundabout, parents and children protested against the Ministry of Education with placards reading, “You’ve Ruined Education,” “If the Positions Are Yours, the Children Are Ours,” and “We Couldn’t Get Used to Tents, You Built Containers, an Entire Summer Passed, and You Looked at the Sky.”

In addition to parents, the protest was attended by Asım Akansoy and MPs Sami Özuslu and Ürün Solyalı from the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), as well as Kudret Özersay, the leader of the People’s Party (HP).

Melek Arabacıoğlu, who read the press statement on behalf of the movement, stated, “We are in revolt! Our revolt is about having to send our children to schools resembling ruins in all regions, including Famagusta, while the pain of our children we lost in the earthquake on February 6 remains within us as fresh as the first day”.

She went on to say that as the public, they demand that the UBP-YDP-DP government and Education Minister Nazım Çavuşoğlu fulfil their constitutional duties and responsibilities.

The statement went on to express their resentment about interventions from Turkey interfering with traditional secular education in the country

As a parents’ movement, we do not want overseas impositions, and we do not want our children to be exposed to racist, sexist, and regressive books. We want education that is in line with today’s conditions, secular, scientific, and contemporary. We want clean and safe school buildings and cafeterias. We want qualified individuals to be employed as teachers, not those appointed through favouritism. We want the Ministry to allocate sufficient budgets to schools and stop collecting money from citizens under the guise of donations. We want every citizen who pays taxes to benefit from public education for free“.

Arabacıoğlu explained that parents are not against full-day education, but they are against the forced imposition of “full-day disgrace“, which is unsafe, lacks infrastructure, is unplanned, and unprepared. She said, “This education that you forcibly impose is not education in the eyes of us parents“.

She continued, stating that they are against sending children to schools with buildings at risk of collapsing or where the roof or columns might fall in half-day education. She also criticised the decision to reopen schools that were closed last year due to the risk of collapse.

Directing her words to the Minister of Education, Çavuşoğlu, Arabacıoğlu asked if it didn’t worry him that each day, walls of a school could collapse and if he wasn’t concerned about being remembered as the ‘minister who kills’ if a tragic incident happens due to the lack of reinforcement and security measures in schools.

She concluded by emphasising, “If you are unwilling to relinquish your positions and seats, know that the positions may be yours, but the children are ours“.


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