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Expat Exchange - Educational System in Turkey
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Istanbul, Turkey


Educational System in Turkey

By Joshua Wood, LPC

SJB Global
SJB Global

Summary: The one tip that you hear expats living in Turkey repeatedly sharing with newcomers is not to buy a home when you first move to Turkey. Rent for a few months or longer so that you have time to find the right neighborhood. Give yourself time to ensure that Turkey is right for you for the long term. If you've already taken time to do those things and are ready to take the plunge and become a property owner, here are tips about buying a home in Turkey.

Relocating to a new country can be a daunting experience, especially when it comes to understanding the educational system for your children. This guide aims to provide expats with a comprehensive overview of the educational system in Turkey. It covers the main stages of education, the process of enrolling your children in school, language requirements, the availability of bilingual schools, types of private schools, and the options for homeschooling and online schooling. The goal is to help you make informed decisions about your children's education during your stay in Turkey.

What are the main stages of education in Turkey?

The Turkish education system is divided into four main stages: pre-primary education, primary education, secondary education, and higher education. Pre-primary education is optional and caters to children aged 3-5 years. Primary education, also known as "Ilkokul", is compulsory for all children aged 6-14 years and is divided into two stages: 1st level (grades 1-4) and 2nd level (grades 5-8). Secondary education, or "Lise", is for students aged 15-18 years and is also compulsory. Higher education includes universities and other institutions of further learning.

How does a newcomer from a different country enroll their kids in school?

To enroll your child in a Turkish school, you need to provide a birth certificate, passport, residence permit, and a recent photo of your child. You also need to fill out an application form at the school. If your child is transferring from a school in another country, you need to provide a certificate of achievement from the previous school. All documents not in Turkish must be translated and notarized.

Can my children enroll in a public school if they are still learning Turkish?

Yes, children who are still learning Turkish can enroll in public schools. However, they may need additional language support. Some schools offer Turkish language courses for foreign students to help them integrate into the regular curriculum.

Are there public bilingual schools in Turkey?

There are a few public bilingual schools in Turkey, mainly in major cities like Istanbul and Ankara. These schools offer instruction in both Turkish and a second language, often English or German. Admission for international students typically requires a proficiency test in the second language.

What types of private schools are common in Turkey?

Private schools in Turkey include international schools, bilingual schools, and religious schools. International schools follow an international curriculum and often teach in English. Bilingual schools offer instruction in Turkish and a second language. Religious schools, also known as Imam Hatip schools, combine a standard curriculum with Islamic studies.

Do expats typically send their children to public or private school?

Many expats in Turkey choose to send their children to private schools, particularly international schools, due to the language barrier in public schools and the high standard of education in private institutions.

How expensive are private schools in Turkey?

The cost of private schools in Turkey varies widely, depending on the school's reputation, location, and curriculum. On average, annual tuition fees can range from $5,000 to $20,000.

Are you allowed to homeschool while living in Turkey?

Homeschooling is not officially recognized in Turkey. All children residing in Turkey are required to attend a formal school from the age of 6 to 18.

Can my kids attend online school instead of a local school while living in Turkey?

Online schooling is not widely recognized in Turkey. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools have adopted online learning platforms. It's advisable to consult with the Ministry of National Education or your local education authority for the most accurate information.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.


SJB Global
SJB Global

SJB Global
SJB Global

Istanbul, Turkey

SJB Global
SJB Global

SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
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SJB GlobalSJB Global

SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
Learn More

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