With public reaction mounting over the increase in religion-centred lessons in the new
education programme, news has started to come in of pupils being guided towards religion
independently of the education programme.
At the Zafer Middle School in Bursa’s Orhangazi whose construction was sponsored by the
AKP municipality, a move has been made to take pupils to perform prayers at the mosque
every Friday. On 26 September, class teachers handed pupils a “permission document”
emanating from school management to be conveyed to parents. The following was noted to
appear on the document, “I permit ......... number ..... in your school’s class ...., of whom I am
the parent/guardian, to go under the supervision of a teacher between the hours of 13.00-
13.45 on Fridays.”
With it customary for there to be two options of “I wish – do not wish” on documents of this
nature conveyed to parents, there was a noticeable absence of a choice on this document.
It has been discovered that many parents went to the school to express their reaction on
receiving the document, with school management shouting, “If you don’t want this, don’t
sign” at parents.
This amounts to keeping tabs
Özkan Rona, Branch Chair of the Public Workers' Union Educational Branch, Eğitim-İş, who spoke to parents following the scandal, made known that outraged parents were concerned that their children will suffer ill-treatment later. Rona, speaking to Cumhuriyet, said the following: “We have previously proved that the AKP, particularly in Bursa, has appointed managers to schools based on lists that it gave to the regime-aligned trade union Eğitim-BirSen. This most recent event is the concrete manifestation of what will happen when school managers are not selected on merit. The school management, more AKP minded than the AKP and more politically Islamic than political Islamists, has embarked on a backward practice in an officious manner even though no instruction has come from the sub-provincial directorate of education. Above all else, a school does not and cannot have such a mission. The distribution by management of this form unashamedly named a “permission document” is nothing but duress. A distinction will be drawn between pupils and tabs will be kept on pupils who do not go to prayers. Right now, both pupils and parents are worried. Parents are afraid that if they oppose this form duress will later be applied to their children on fictitious pretexts. But, we will hold these managers to account for this document. We will badger every necessary authority and checkmate this mindset that keeps tabs through something called a permission document!”