Expat children can attend Turkish public schools free of charge, but the standard of education varies and the language of instruction is in Turkish. This leads many expat parents to enrol their children in private or international schools instead.
Public schools in Ankara
Primary and secondary school is free and compulsory for all children in Turkey. Though the language of instruction is Turkish, all children are required to learn a foreign language – typically English, French, Spanish or German.
The school week in Turkey runs from Monday to Friday, and the school year is from mid-September to early June. In larger cities like Ankara, public schools often have to deal with overcrowding, with school days split into morning and afternoon sessions and classes of up to 60 learners.
International schools in Ankara
Most international schools in Turkey can be found in Istanbul and Ankara, catering for various foreign nationalities. Many of these schools organise outings and cultural activities and offer their learners a chance to learn Turkish, making it easier for the children to assimilate into Turkish culture. Ankara has a large diplomatic community, and international school spaces are quite limited. Expat parents should plan well ahead to make sure their children have a spot when the school term starts.
International school tuition is expensive, and the additional costs of uniforms, textbooks, transport and extra-curriculars can build up. Expat parents should budget carefully and, if moving as part of a corporate relocation, try to negotiate an education allowance as part of their relocation package.
Special-needs education in Ankara
The Turkish government aims to keep children with special educational needs in mainstream classes as much as possible, supporting their continued integration in society. Many international schools in Ankara offer special-needs education, but the type and scope of support varies between schools.
If more support is required than can be offered in a mainstream class, parents can apply to their local Guidance Study Centre (Rehberlik ve Araştırma Merkezi) with a disability health report. Once the child has been tested, the Ministry of Education will fund a portion of expenses incurred for special education.
Tutors in Ankara
Tutoring in Ankara is common, especially exam preparation during the run-up to a major national examination. Many school boards organise tutoring and extra classes on-premises outside of the school day, often offered by volunteer or trainee teachers. Private tutoring centres called dershane offer supplementary classes by professional teachers and are considered by many Turkish parents to be a popular and budget-friendly alternative to full private schools. Finally, one-to-one tutoring is available for a higher price.
Expat parents may consider hiring a Turkish-language tutor for their children or for the whole family to facilitate their integration into Turkish culture.
►See Education and Schools in Turkey for a more comprehensive overview of the Turkish education system.
Are you an expat living in Ankara?
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