copy the linklink copied!Turkey


Schools in Turkey have less favourable disciplinary climates in science lessons compared to other OECD countries, according to students’ reports in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2015, with an index of disciplinary climate of -0.12 (the OECD average index value was 0.00). Student truancy was among the highest among OECD countries: 47% of 15-year-olds reported skipping at least one day of school in the two weeks before the PISA 2015 test, compared to the OECD average of 19.7%. However, students in Turkey were more likely to report that their science teachers adapt their instructions more frequently than the OECD average, with an index of adaptive instruction of 0.12 (the OECD average index value was 0.01) (OECD, 2016[1]).

The PISA 2015 index of instructional educational leadership (measuring the frequency with which principals report doing leadership activities specifically related to instruction) was among the highest in the OECD at 0.54 (the OECD average was 0.01) (OECD, 2016[1]). The proportion of lower secondary teachers in Turkey in 2016 aged 50 or over was 5.4%, which was among the lowest in the OECD (the average was 35.4%). In 2017, teachers in Turkey had fewer net teaching hours for general programmes than the OECD average. Teachers annually taught 720 hours at primary level and 504 hours at lower secondary level, compared to OECD averages of 784 and 696 hours, respectively (OECD, 2018[2]). According to school principals’ self-reports in PISA 2015, Turkish schools have lower levels of autonomy over curriculum, compared to the OECD average: 21.8% of principals in Turkey reported that the school has primary autonomy over curriculum, compared to the OECD average of 73.4% (OECD, 2016[1]).

Lower secondary teachers earned 80% of the average salary of a full-time, full-year worker with tertiary education in 2016; this was less than the OECD average ratio of 91% (OECD, 2018[2]). According to the OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) 2018, 74.5% of teachers in Turkey said that if they could choose again, they would still become a teacher; this was similar to the OECD average of 75.6%. Furthermore, 26% of teachers felt that the teaching profession was valued in society, compared to an OECD average of 25.8% in 2018 (OECD, 2019[3]).

According to school leaders’ reports in PISA 2015, school leaders in Turkey are about as likely as the OECD average to conduct self-evaluations of their schools (93.5% of students were in schools whose principal reported this, compared to the OECD average of 93.2%) and more likely than average to undergo external evaluations of their schools (78.8% of students were in schools whose principal reported this, compared to the OECD average of 74.6%). In Turkey, the share of students enrolled in secondary schools whose principal reported in PISA 2015 that standardised tests were used to make decisions on students’ promotion or retention was 32%, which was close to the OECD average of 31% (OECD, 2016[1]).

In 2017, provincial/regional autonomy levels over resource management (allocation and use of resources for teaching staff and principals) were higher in Turkey than the OECD average: 25% of decisions in Turkey were taken at this level, compared to the OECD average of 7%.

Turkey’s annual expenditure per student at primary level in 2015 was USD 4 134, which was among the lowest among OECD countries (the average was USD 8 631). At secondary level, Turkey spent USD 3 511 per student, compared to the OECD average of USD 10 010, while at tertiary level (including spending on research and development), Turkey spent USD 8 901 per student, compared to the OECD average of USD 15 656. In 2015, expenditure on primary to tertiary education as a proportion of gross domestic product (GDP) was 4.8% in Turkey, which was lower than the OECD average of 5%. The proportion coming from private sources (including household expenditure, expenditure from other private entities and international sources) was higher than the OECD average (21% compared to 16.1%) (OECD, 2018[2]).

Evolution of key education policy priorities

Turkey’s key education policy priorities have evolved in the following ways over the last decade (Table 8.28).

copy the linklink copied!
Table 8.28. Evolution of key education policy priorities, Turkey (2008-19)

Identified by

Selected OECD country-based work, 2008-191

Evolution of responses collected by the Education Policy Outlook, 2013-192

School improvement


Turkey reported the ongoing priority of preparing quality teachers and school leaders through policy measures, including co-operation with universities and institutions. [2013; 2016-17]

Evaluation and assessment


To improve learning outcomes, an ongoing priority reported by Turkey is to enhance the evaluation and assessment tools within a comprehensive framework aligned with educational goals. Turkey recently reported prioritising the monitoring of education and training processes in a multi-directional way by creating a national monitoring system and at the same time, monitoring the educational situation of students individually. [2013; 2016-17]


According to OECD evidence, the business sector is vibrant, but low skills and high employment costs, amplified by the recent minimum wage hike, foster informality, as the burden of going formal is too high. Informality and semi-formality, in turn, slow down productivity growth. [2016]

Turkey reported the ongoing priority of granting provincial authorities and education institutions greater capacity to address local challenges, while at the same time ensuring alignment with national priorities. [2013]


According to OECD evidence, the upgrading of the quality of teachers, educational materials and school facilities will claim additional resources. The low level of spending on education, and its uneven quality and distribution across regions and school types is reflected in Turkey having one of the lowest overall employment rates, particularly for women, among OECD countries. The employment rate is strongly and positively correlated with the level of education attained, and since 2000, the employment rates for illiterate workers and those with less than high school education have been on a noticeable downward trend for both men and women. The OECD identified a need to increase spending efficiency. More recently, the OECD put forward that higher-quality education at all levels, including upskilling and lifelong learning, ought to be a top policy priority, which calls for a reallocation of fiscal resources. [2008; 2012]

Turkey previously reported a need to adequately fund the education system; this need is ongoing. [2013]


1. See Annex A (OECD publications consulted).

2. See Reader’s Guide (years and methods of collection).


Selected education policy responses

Evaluation and assessment

  • Turkey’s Monitoring and Evaluation of Academic Abilities (ABİDE, 2016) project aims to assess the learning outcomes of the education system and provide feedback. The objective is to offer students test items other than multiple-choice assessments and to measure students’ higher-order thinking skills (Eurydice, 2018[564]). ABİDE forms part of the “Data-Based Management with Learning Analytics Tools” goal of Turkey’s Education Vision 2023 (Ministry of National Education, 2018[565]; Eurydice, 2018[564]).

copy the linklink copied!

Progress or impact: In 2015, a pilot for Grade 8, the last year of lower secondary school, was run with full implementation by 2018 (Ministry of National Education, 2019[566]) and national information reported to the OECD). In 2016, a pilot was conducted for Grade 4, with full implementation by 2018. The central organisation, the provincial administrators, as well as the school principals and teachers were informed of the outcomes through printed and visual materials before the implementation of the pilot (National information reported to the OECD). In 2018, 70 000 students could be reached through ABİDE (Eurydice, 2018[564]). The aim is to implement ABİDE in Grade 10 by 2020 (National information reported to the OECD), and to conduct ABİDE every two years.

Additional education policies of potential interest to other countries

School improvement

  • The Ministry of National Education (MoNE) and the Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey (Türkiye Bilimsel ve Teknolojik Araştırma Kurumu, TUBITAK) signed a Cooperation Protocol for Teaching, Entrepreneurship and Leadership Trainings to improve technical and vocational education and training (TVET) quality, and to promote social awareness about innovation (2012) (Ministry of National Education, 2013[567]). From 2013-15, 15 000 managers and teachers were trained in professional skills, entrepreneurship and leadership (Durgun, 2016[568]). The aim is to carry out in-service training activities of workshop and laboratory teachers in real work environments. Between 2014 and 2017, approximately 2 000 teachers participated in 80 activities at work within the scope of the co-operation protocols (Data collected by Turkey’s Ministry of Education in-service department of the Directorate General for VET). By 2018, 1 057 teachers received on-the-job training in 56 activities under the co-operation protocols. In 2019, 3 384 teachers were in charge of 92 activities in the scope of co-operation protocols, and 4 000 teachers received distance learning. More than 500 teachers were planned to receive on-the-job training, with 25 additional activities for newly signed protocols (Data collected by Turkey’s Ministry of Education in-service department of the Directorate General for VET).

Evaluation and assessment

  • Turkey’s Standards for Primary Education Institutions (2010) became the Standards for Pre-school and Primary Education Institutions (Institution Standards) in 2013/14, which also cover religious and vocational secondary schools. The Institution Standards is a system for collecting, analysing and evaluating the results of educational services, based on minimum qualifications (standards and sub-standards) for educational services, to improve school quality based on outcomes. An e-school module supported by the MEBBIS (Ministry of National Education Information Systems) database can be accessed by all schools. School administrators, teachers, students and parents can annually feed data into the system through the self-evaluation design. After the data collection process, the analyses are presented to authorities at the school, district/provincial directorates of national education and ministerial levels. Based on the results, schools develop a self-improvement plan. The tool aims to aid in school empowerment and is part of the school decentralisation plans of the Ministry of National Education. MoNE has made updates to the Institution Standards in accordance with developments and changes in education and training. The data collection of the Pre-school Education and Primary Education Standards System for the 2017/18 academic year was completed, with the 2018/19 academic year currently in progress (Ministry of National Education, 2019[569]; Ministry of National Education, 2016[570]). The data will benefit the monitoring and evaluation reports that will be prepared by the data of the Agency Standards System (National information reported to the OECD) (Ministry of National Education, 2016[571]).

  • Through the MoNE Strategic Plan Monitoring Module, the monitoring and evaluation of the plan are carried out to develop data-based education policies, identify areas for improvement, review the resource allocation in the fields of activity and make more rational priorities. In 2015-19, monitoring and evaluations of the plan took place in six-month intervals. Monitoring and evaluation reports are prepared periodically, and educational policies are discussed through meetings with stakeholders. The process of monitoring and evaluating the strategic plans of 81 provincial, national education directorates is ongoing (National information reported to the OECD).

  • To contribute to the training of qualified human resources in vocational and technical education, in 2019, a quality assurance system was established in vocational and technical education. The Quality Assurance Directive of the Vocational and Technical Education Institutions (Mesleki ve Teknik Eğitim Kurumlarının Kalite Güvencesi Direktifi, 2019) determines the procedures and principles on quality assurance.


Selected education policy responses


  • Turkey has set education goals in a series of development plans. The Strategic Plan for the Ministry of National Education (MEB Stratejik Planı, 2010-14) defines medium- and long-term objectives of public administration, along with principles and policies, objectives and priorities, or performance criteria plans, including methods and allocation of resources (European Commission, 2018[572]). The Tenth Development Plan (Onuncu Kalkınma Planı, 2014-18) contains a section on education, which focuses, among others, on making lifelong learning more accessible and relevant to labour market needs. In addition, the Lifelong Learning Strategy Document and Action Plan (2014-18) aims to develop a lifelong learning system by prioritising six main points: 1) establishing a lifelong learning culture and awareness in the community; 2) increasing a lifelong learning presentation and opportunities; 3) increasing access to lifelong learning opportunities; 4) developing a lifelong guidance and counselling system; and 5) developing recognition of prior learning (RPL); 6) improving the system development of a lifelong learning monitoring and evaluation system (European Commission, 2018[572]).

copy the linklink copied!

Progress or impact: In addition to the key policy documents mentioned above, new education documents have been implemented.

In 2015, the new Ministry of National Education Strategic Plan (2015-19) was introduced based on previous policy documents. It sets the priorities on access to education, quality in education and training, and improving institutional capacity.

The Medium-Term Program (Orta Vadeli Program, OVP, 2017-19) sets further goals for education (MoD, 2016[573]).

The Teacher Strategy Document (2017-23) focuses on six components to address shortcomings, including initial teacher training, professional development and employment processes (Ministry of National Education, 2017[574]).

  • In preparation for the 100th year of its establishment, the Government of the Republic of Turkey launched Turkey’s Strategic Vision 2023 (TSV, 2008-23), which sets forth goals to achieve by 2023 in the areas of international relations, international security, domestic politics, economy, education, science and technology, and culture (TASAM, 2012[575]). The education goals include equipping classrooms, labs, teacher rooms and kindergartens with at least 450 000 interactive whiteboards and providing at least 11 million tablets to students under the Movement of Enhancing Opportunities and Improving Technology (FATIH, 2011) project (Trucano, 2013[576]). In addition, the goals promote the implementation of the reform of the Council of Higher Education (Yükseköğretim Kurulu, YÖK), also known as the Silent Revolution in Higher Education (2017), and measures to increase the number of private universities and the number of teachers in universities (YÖK, 2018[577]).

copy the linklink copied!

Progress or impact: According to the Ministry of National Education, by 2015, at least 200 000 interactive display boards had been installed in classrooms around the country, and more than 700 000 tablets had been distributed to students in 81 cities (FATIH, 2016[578]). According to national information reported to the OECD, by 2019, at least 432 288 interactive display boards had been installed in classrooms around the country, and more than 1 437 800 tablets had been distributed to students in 81 cities and 47 158 schools.

The higher education sector has also reported progress in the form of a set of measures referred to as the “Silent Revolution in Higher Education” that was published in 2017 as part of the Production Reform Package. Measures include the introduction of an Advisory Board for Higher Education Programs, a Coordination Board for Vocational Schools, and support for workplace-based training. According to the YÖK, these measures will lead Turkish universities to a more competitive environment at all levels; place quality at the centre of growth in higher education; ensure that the Council of Higher Education (CoHE) will take decisions more openly and collaboratively after transferring some of its authority; promote the process of producing knowledge and training researchers; and develop relations between Turkish universities and the business world (YÖK, 2018[577]).

Higher education statistics collected by the YÖK indicate Turkey’s higher education system includes 186 institutions, of which 112 are public, and 74 are private (YÖK, 2018[579]). According to national information, by 2019, the number of higher education institutions increased to 207 institutions, of which 130 are public, 72 are private, and 5 are public foundations. The MoNE reported in early 2018 that the number of private institutions had increased from 51 at the end of 2012 to 74 (69 universities and 5 vocational schools) by the end of 2017 (Ministry of National Education, 2018[580]). Finally, national data provided by the YÖK indicate that the number of academicians increased from 142 437 in 2013/14 to 158 098 in 2017/18 (YÖK, 2018[581]; YÖK, 2018[582]).

Additional education policies of potential interest to other countries


  • Since 2010, the Turkish Ministry of National Education has organised its education sector around many strategies and action plans to improve access and quality at all school levels. In 2015, the government reported that the MoNE’s Strategic Plan (2015-19) manages the main strategies for Turkey’s education system by setting the medium- and long-term education goals. The plan was first prepared and implemented in 2010-14. Following consultation with the central and provincial organisation units and related stakeholders, the plan was replaced by a new set of five-year targets and goals around three main themes: access to education and teaching; quality in education and instruction; and institutional capacity (MoNE, 2015[583]).

  • Since 2016, representatives of different Turkish sectoral and professional organisations, as well as municipalities and other public and private institutions and organisations in the country have come together to form School Administrative Boards of Vocational and Technical Education (Mesleki ve Teknik Eğitim Okul Yönetim Kurulu, MTOYK) in all provinces and districts. According to recent OECD research on Turkey, the MTOYKs were formed to strengthen school-sector co-operation in vocational and technical education (OECD, 2018[584]). In 2016, the Ministry of Education established the Vocational and Technical Education School Board of Directors with the approval of Circular No. 2016/21 (Ministry of National Education, 2016[585]).

  • The Turkey Maarif Foundation (Türkiye Maarif Vakfı, 2016), a public foundation, is the only organisation with authority to open direct educational institutions outside the Ministry of Education on behalf of Turkey abroad (Turkey Maarif Foundation, 2018[586]). The foundation provides scholarships to students at all education levels from pre-school education to post-secondary education. It has also opened schools, educational institutions and dormitories abroad; trained teachers qualified to serve both in Turkey and abroad; conducted scientific research and research and development studies; published articles; and carried out other educational activities in accordance with the legislation of the country where it operates. Since 2016, at least 105 schools have been established under the auspices of the Turkey Maarif Foundation: 29 new schools have been opened, and 76 existing schools have been transferred to the Foundation (Turkey Maarif Foundation, 2018[587]).


  • Although students’ families usually pay tuition fees for private schools in Turkey, the government requires that all private schools provide free tuition to at least 3% of their students (Eurydice, 2018[588]). Under the Private Teaching Institutions Law (n. 5580, Özel Öğretim Kurumları Kanunu, 2013), government grants have been provided to private vocational and technical schools in organised industrial zones, in addition to the funding available to private schools with students with special educational needs and disabilities (OECD, 2013[589]). This was an amendment to the original 2007 law (Legislation Information System of Turkey, 2007[590]). In 2016, the government made additional funding available to all students in vocational and technical schools founded outside of organised industrial zones. The state contributes to part of the salaries paid to VET students in order to support workplace-based learning in vocational and technical education (Ministry of National Education, 2017[591]). For students with skills training in business, the government pays between one- and two-thirds of their wages. Since 2014-15, the government has been implementing partial subsidies to families to reduce tuition fees for private institutions, ranging from early childhood education and care to higher education. The fee is calculated based on the type of school and the grade of the student.

More information is available at

Metadata, Legal and Rights

This document, as well as any data and map included herein, are without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory, to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to the name of any territory, city or area. Extracts from publications may be subject to additional disclaimers, which are set out in the complete version of the publication, available at the link provided.

© OECD 2019

The use of this work, whether digital or print, is governed by the Terms and Conditions to be found at