Turkish Education System in Terms of Structure

Turkish Education System in Terms of Structure
  • Son Güncellenme: 07/09/2021

The Turkish education system is very comprehensive and intense. In Turkey, twelve-year-long education is mandatory and free for children. Children begin to go to primary school at the age of six, approximately and graduates from high school at the age of eighteen. After that, studying at a college is optional. In Turkey, 20% of the population is graduated from high school, 13,9% of the population has a college degree.


In Turkey, the education system is called: 4+4+4. This means; the first 4 years of the education is called primary school, the second 4 years of education are called middle/secondary school and the last first years of education are called high school. Students start to learn a foreign language (mostly English) in the second class and they optionally start to learn an additional foreign language in the fifth class. Primary and middle schools’ syllabuses are composed of a core curriculum, the classes are; Turkish, Mathematics, Social Sciences, Music, Visual Arts.

After middle school, students enter an exam called LGS (Lise Giriş Sınavı/ Exam for Entering to High Schools). According to this exam’s result (70%) and the success rate (30%) in the school, students can choose the high school that they want to study in. Also, the Turkish education system allows signing in a high school without entering any exams. In this case, students should choose the nearest high schools to their houses. As one can see, the neighborhood that families live matters in this case. The houses near the successful primary and secondary schools are more valuable than others, because people want their children to study in better schools.

According to the last regulations, there are two terms and four breaks in the school year calendar. The first term starts in September and lasts in late January of the following year. The students enjoy a week of fall break in November. The term break takes place for two weeks between late January and early February. Starting from February, the second term continues until the first half of June. The spring break is scheduled for April. The biggest break of the calendar is the summer vacation, which is around 11 weeks. The cycle is completed in this explained formula in every school year under standard conditions.

Having said that, the Covid-19 pandemic made the practice of this calendar impossible. However, since the digital and technological infrastructure of Turkey is advanced, the students kept joining the classes online. Moreover, TRT (Turkish Radio&Television), the official media company of the Turkish state, launched EBA TV, where classed are taught and freely watched on satellite. Thanks to these facilities, the students did not lag behind in education.


In Turkey, there are ten kinds of high schools. These are;

  • Vocational and Technical Anatolian High School: Institutions that provide professions at the end of 4-year education that students who have completed secondary education can continue. They train intermediate staff that will contribute to the country’s economy.
  • Anatolian High School: The establishment purpose of these high schools is to raise high-quality students. Students can study Maths&Sciences, Turkish&Maths, Foreign Language or Turkish&Social Sciences.
  • Social Sciences High School: Students graduating from these high schools can easily be successful in universities that require social and linguistic intelligence such as law, literature, and philosophy.
  • Fine Arts High School: These high schools provide students with basic knowledge and skills about fine arts and train qualified people in the field of fine arts.
  • Religious Vocational High School: The aim of these high schools is to train the orators and imams.
  • Science High School: These high schools are resources for the training of highly qualified scientists needed in the fields of mathematics and science.
  • Sports High School: These high schools, aim to direct to sports at an early age and discover the talented students will represent Turkey in the international sports community.
  • Multi-Program High School: These high schools aim to provide students with the occupations. Different than the other high schools, in multi-program high schools there are lots of recitations. When the students of multi-program high school graduate, they are capable of practicing their professions but they may also complete their education in vocational schools.
  • Open Education High School: These high schools are a distance an education model that enables people to receive education without space and time limitation using communication technologies.

There are also some private high schools in Turkey. They have a different system than the public high school. Some advantages of private high school are; more comfortable class structures and more structural facilities like sports hall or swimming pool, less crowded classes and technological feasibilities.


There are approximately 200 universities in Turkey and 61 of them are in Istanbul. There are high-quality universities in Turkey which are listed as the most successful universities in the world such as Koç University, Boğaziçi University, Middle East Technical University, Sabancı University and Bilkent Üniversity. Some of them are foundation universities but there is an option of getting a 100% scholarship.

Academicians in high-quality universities mostly have doctorate degree from reputable universities in USA.

There are lots of departments in Turkish Universities and additionally, there are many programs in vocational schools. Departments are for four years and vocational schools are for two years. Vocational schools are just like vocational high schools; there are a lot of recitation and an intense internship schedule for providing employment.

Approximately every university in Turkey has a great network of exchange and equivalence to colleges throughout the world. University students in Turkey have the opportunity to benefit from the exchange programs like Erasmus+ and Mevlana to study one or two terms in a university in a different country. Thus, Turkish universities offer their students to be global and self-confident people who adapt easily to a variety of cultures.

Besides the high-quality education, there are so many social activities in universities via student clubs such as Archaeology Club, Birdwatching Club, Juggling Club.

Also, students can work in President’s Office in universities and it is an important advantage for work experience before graduation.

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