Where a foreign national child is enrolled at public schools, the Provincial Directorate of National Education is responsible for examining and assessing the former educational background of the student and determine to which grade-level the child should be registered.
Stages of the Education System
- Pre-School Education: Optional kindergarten education, up to 6 years of age.
- Primary Education: Compulsory and free basic education for eight years (5 years elementary + 3 years secondary), 6-14 years of age.
- Secondary Education: 4 years of High School (Lise), or Vocational High School education, 15-17/18 years of age. Some schools might have an additional year of language study. High schools are mostly owned by the government and provide free education.
- Higher Education: 4 years of University, or 2 years at Higher Vocational Schools. Some schools have an additional year of language study. Under normal circumstances, Master’s study lasts 2 years; PhD 3-5 years.
Types of High Schools
- Public High Schools (“Normal Liseler” or “Duz Liseler”): Any student who successfully completes 8 years of basic education can go onto these schools. Graduates of public high schools, if successful in the nationwide University Entrance Examination (ÖSS), can go onto higher education institutions. Graduates are awarded with the Lise Diploması.
- Vocational High Schools (Meslek Liseleri): Some of these schools may take an additional year to complete. Graduates can automatically go on to higher vocational schools (Meslek Yüksek Okulları – 2 Year Vocational Colleges) in their respective fields of study if they wish. Alternatively, if successful in the university entrance examination, they can go onto 4-year schools in their respective fields.
- Anatolian High Schools (Anadolu Liseleri): One year of English study followed by 3 years of regular high school education, additional hours for English. Math and Science lessons at these schools are sometimes taught in English. Lessons at some Anatolian high schools are taught in either German or French.
- Super High Schools (Super Liseler): The difference between these and normal high schools is one extra year of English study. They differ from Anatolian high schools in that the language of instruction for math and science courses is always Turkish and less hours are given to English lessons.
- Science High Schools (Fen Liseleri): These are special public schools for students who have exceptional aptitude in the sciences. These very competitive high schools train students specifically for higher education in the sciences, technical and medical fields. There is also Anatolian Science High Schools (Anadolu Fen Liseleri), where the medium of instruction for math and sciences is sometimes in English.
- Private High Schools (Ozel Liseler): Most private high schools charge very high tuition fees and are very competitive.
Types of Higher Education Institutions
- State Universities (Devlet Universiteleri): The university system in Turkey is governed by the Higher Educational Council (YOK). Turkey has 104 state and 62 private universities (a total of 166 institutions of higher learning), 5 of which are located in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Apart from the public and private universities, 8 foundation higher vocational schools serve the job market.
No tuition fee is charged at public schools (devlet universitesi); students pay only a small basic fee. Students need to pass a nationwide University Entrance Exam (OSS) to enter a university.
- Higher Vocational Schools (Meslek Yuksek Okulları): They offer 2 years of undergraduate study after high school and are very much like the community colleges in the USA. Two year graduates must take the national Vertical Transfer Test (Dikey Gecis Sinavi) and have a high GPA to be able to apply to 4-year schools.
- Private or Foundation Universities (Ozel / Vakif Universiteleri): In Turkey, private foundations obtained the right in 1984 to establish and develop universities. Private universities take more active initiatives to form and to select international and global educational and research networks. Private universities charge tuition fee ranging from USD 6,000-20,000. Although private institutions, they offer considerable financial aid; more than 40% of all students receive some sort of financial aid.
Why is Turkey becoming a hub for higher education?
Top universities in Turkey
There are 10 Turkish universities featured in the QS World University Rankings® 2019, and 45 Turkish universities in the 2019 edition of the QS University Rankings: EECA. The majority of these top universities in Turkey are located in either Ankara or Istanbul, Turkey’s two largest cities.