1st semester ends for Turkish students hoping schools open soon

Approximately 18 million Turkish students will start a three-week-long break on Friday after receiving most of the first semester’s lessons online and on television through the Education Information Network (EBA) due to coronavirus measures.

The first semester was launched by the National Education Ministry on Aug. 31 via distance learning with online resources. Kindergarten and first-year students started to attend classes on Sept. 21, while all elementary schools and some middle-school and high school grades switched to offline classes on Oct. 12 as well. Finally, the remaining classes started face-to-face education on Nov. 2. However, after a one-week break in mid-November, the ministry decided to continue all education online due to surging coronavirus cases in the country. During this process, online programs, TRT’s EBA channel and printed and digital sources were utilized.

The first semester will come to an end Friday with elementary school and middle school students receiving their electronic report cards. There are no exams for primary and secondary schools, and grades will be given according to participation scores. First-grade, second-grade and third-grade students will be given either “good,” “very good” or “improvable” grades, while fourth grades and secondary schools will be given an electronic school report card with scores out of 100. Their first semester exams will not be included in the mid-year evaluation. However, parents will be able to apply to the school directors and ask for the exam scores to be included in the first-semester evaluation.

High school students will not get a school report card for the first semester, since exams were not held. Instead, they will take tests after Feb. 15, considering the course of the pandemic. Their first-semester grades will be given after completion of these exams.

On Sunday, National Education Minister Ziya Selçuk said that Turkey is planning to reopen schools beginning Feb. 15. “We have made a policy decision on reopening schools as of Feb. 15,” he said.

EBA, a little-known online education portal before the pandemic, provided a lifeline for more than 18 million students after schools were closed in the early days of the pandemic. The Ministry of National Education first introduced TV classes for remote education, and later, these was supported with live online classes by thousands of teachers. EBA now serves students with its expanded content, with more than 1,800 courses on different subjects and thousands of interactive materials, books, quiz databases, magazines, informative cartoons and more. Teachers and students have attended more than 154 million live class sessions in total since the early days of the outbreak.