By Emin Avundukluoglu

ANKARA

Turkey is hoping to resume in-person education as soon as conditions surrounding the coronavirus pandemic improve, the country’s education minister said Sunday.

“We are waiting for the conditions to mature to start face-to-face education as soon as possible,” Ziya Selcuk told lawmakers during the 2021 budget debate in parliament.

Selcuk said the education budget has been set at 211.9 billion liras (US$26.9 billion), accounting for 15.7% of the government’s budget for 2021.

“We are increasing our investment budget for areas that we attach special importance to such as the transition to single education and pre-school education, distance education, earthquake reinforcement activities in schools and the workshop infrastructure of vocational high schools by 94% to 11.3 billion liras,” he said.

Stating that nearly half a million interactive digital boards have been installed in schools so far, Selcuk said the installation of 26,000 interactive boards for approximately 1,350 schools will be completed by the end of 2020.

He also noted that only four countries in the world were able to establish three separate TV channels for education, adding one of them is Turkey.

Selcuk said tablet support for students who are unable to access distance education is continuing and 200,000 tablets would be distributed to students by Dec. 21.

An additional 300,000 tablets will be distributed until mid-January 2021, he added.

“We continue to work on the policies that will shape the next 20-30 years step by step for a quality and universally competitive education system,” he said.

Turkey resumed its distance learning education system as of Nov. 20 until Jan. 4 next year.

Remote learning will continue through national broadcaster TRT’s Education Information Network (EBA) channels and live courses, while all teachers can carry out live lessons through the EBA.

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