The renewed conflict in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has wreaked havoc on the schooling system in the region, Al Monitor reports.
Many teachers from western Turkey, appointed to schools in the region after a long wait, have refused to go to their places of duty, while those who did are working in a state of edginess.
In mid-September, the government made 35,563 new appointments to 37,000 teaching vacancies, and 67% of them were to schools in the southeast.
A survey by the Education and Science Laborers Union (Egitim-Sen), conducted early September among 1,087 teachers in 10 eastern and southeastern provinces, found that 32% of them consider quitting the profession. One in every three teachers in Hakkari and Sirnak, two of the provinces worst affected by the unrest, have already requested reappointment this year, according to Sakine Esen Yilmaz, secretary-general of Egitim-Sen, which has 127,000 members across Turkey.
The trade union’s report made available to Al-Monitor says 89% of teachers in the southeast believe the schooling process cannot function properly under the current conditions. A total of 83% are unhappy in the region, including 42% who are seeking reappointment to other provinces and 41% who say they are unwilling to work in the region.
Yilmaz told Al-Monitor that 38% of the respondents worried for their safety and that there was a quick turnover of teachers in the southeast.
“We tried to measure how the conflict has affected education practitioners and to show what consequences the crisis has had and can have in the coming days. This year, some 36,000 new teachers were appointed. Yet, these education workers, who had waited for years to be appointed, are now in the grips of anxiety. Many are unwilling to go to the region, while those who did want to leave,” Yilmaz said.
Egitim-Sen’s survey asked teachers seeking reappointment why they wanted to leave. The question generated some striking answers such as, “I don’t like the place,” “I don’t like the local people” and “I don’t want to work with the local people.”