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International Education in Local Settings
" panel organised in Tarabya British Schools' Yeniköy Campus on 14th May 2016.

For A Solid National Education, A Universal Education First

On Saturday 14th May, at the Yenikoy campus of the Tarabya British Schools there was a discussion panel, organised by Turkish and European educators, in Istanbul. The premise of the event was “universal education model was fundamental for a solid national education”.


  The founder of Tarabya British Schools, Mehmet Gültekin, gave the opening speech, pointing out that one of the biggest problems Turkish students are facing when applying for studying abroad is the credibility of their diploma. Gültekin also stated that Cambridge curricula were being successfully applied on the national curriculum in both state schools and private schools.

Panel members were Prof. Dr. Ziya Selçuk TED University Chairman of the Board of Regents, Gisella Langé of the Italian Ministry of Education, Tim Chadwick of Cambridge University Publications, Burcu Benderli, Cambridge International Examinations European District Manager and Cambridge Associate Schools Academic Director Janet Williams.

Curriculum is Controversial to the Principles of the Nature

After the opening ceremony and speech there followed a talk by Prof. Dr. Ziya Selçuk. He stated that the current curriculum was against the principles of the nature. He suggested an ideal curriculum would hold happiness and love before success and intelligence, it would be focused on the present, personalised and flexible when necessary.

As he mentioned his personal experiences of his first meeting with the curriculum, Prof. Dr. Ziya Selçuk stated that he had embraced the “each child is different from one another like fingerprints” opinion yet all children were given the same curriculum, same lessons, same exams and same homework. While stating that this was an existential controversy, Dr. Selçuk explained how informal education was gaining importance over formal education.

Prof. Dr. Selçuk said: “In order to establish a solid national education, a universal education model needs to be prioritized” as he highlighted that every action that has a message for the humanity had to have a universal colour. He stated that in order for education to fit the nature of a child it needed to be inspiring, encouraging and exciting. Following topic was the role of the school in their future.

Ziya Selçuk referred to the fact that, the curriculum could vary according to whether it was information, measuring or learner centred. He said what carried a true importance was not to fill children with external information but to support what they had inside them. As he stressed that the current curriculum was against the principles of the nature, he presented us with his solutions.

His suggestions to solve this issue were to focus on the present, employ personalisation of learning, a flexible approach to the curriculum and an approach based on happiness and love. Prof. Dr. Selçuk added that, he finds it wrong to make attempts to solve some of the social issues Turkey has been going through by including them in the curriculum as an easy way out in terms of causality. He also mentioned as much as the international experiences carried significance, they were not enough.

Prof. Dr. Ziya Selçuk said: “The other schools are like factory made food where Tarabya British Schools are like homemade meals. It certainly is a unique campus atmosphere. As you walk through the campus you can feel the history in every stone you step on. It is important to thank for this panel, but not as important as thanking for bringing a campus like this to the children and the education”.

Italian Education Reform

Without losing pace, we moved onto Gisella Langé and her speech on the education reform in Italy. She mentioned the reasons, context and the works that were done before and after the reform that took place with a decision from the Italian Parliament. Referring to the importance of the international curricula for this reform, Langé said a reform like this could be applied in every country if a partnership on the international curriculum could be established and people worked hard for it.


Cambridge International Examinations European District Manager Burcu Benderli directed a question on how the international curriculum was being applied in Turkey to the Cambridge Associate Schools Academic Director J. Williams, asking her to emphasise the Turkish example. Williams mentioned how international curricula could be taught alongside the Turkish curriculum and that they could graduate with two diplomas.

When it came to the language proficiency exams, Williams highlighted that the IGCSE English exams that the students follow in their first two years of high school and take at the end of their second year are accepted as proficient by the universities around the globe and that it was not necessary for them to take an extra language exam.

Cambridge University Publications author Tim Chadwick mentioned the other projects around the world on schools that gave dual-diploma educations. He explained how language and subject teachers could help each other out on these projects.

The panel ended with Sarıyer District Governor Gürsoy Osman Bilgin and the founder of Tarabya British Schools Mehmet Gültekin thanking the participants with sincere gifts.

Prior to the panel training was given by Tim Chadwick of Cambridge University Press where “Content and Language Integrated Learning” was described in depth. The participants were given tips on how to apply this to the classrooms. The training successfully achieved to explain how language teachers and subject teachers could support each other and how the CLIL program could be applied in the classroom. 



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