Special Needs Education in Turkey

Understand what assistance is available for children with special needs in specialist schools in Turkey, as well as in the mainstream public and private school systems...

Matters relating to people with special needs in Turkey are regulated by the Administration for Disabled People (TC Aile ve Sosyal Politikalar Bakanl???, Özürlüler Dairesi Ba?kanl???). This institution coordinates the government and non-governmental organisations providing services for disabled people.

In May 2009 Turkey adopted the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Although the government, municipalities and non-profit organisations have been working together to improve the conditions and facilities for people with special needs and encourage their full participation in daily life, access and the services available are not yet sufficient for the number of people with needs.

Education of Children with Disabilities or Learning Difficulties

The fundamental policy is to educate children with disabilities in a way that allows them to interact with other children as much as possible, to support their integration in society. This applies to children with visual, hearing or physical impairment as well as children with behavioural, social or learning difficulties. If the disability allows, a child attends regular school classes.

However, depending on the level of their disability, education may take place in special classes.

The Ministry of Education (Milli E?itim Bakanl???, MEB) is responsible for providing children with special needs with education from age 3 to 14. The supervision of education of children with disabilities starts at birth.

Special educational needs: assessment and diagnosis

State educational support is provided to children judged to need special education services. Application is made to the Guidance Study Centre (Rehberlik Ara?t?ma Merkezi) in the district of residence; a hospital-issued disability health report (özürlüler için sa?l?k kurulu raporu) is required.

Using various tests, the Guidance Study Centre evaluates the physical ability, personal development characteristics and the academic competences of the child and provides recommendations on education. It also gives the family guidance and counselling on the care and treatment of a child with special needs.

Documents required to apply for special education:

  • Residency certificate
  • Written application by the parents to the school administration
  • Personal development report of the child (if already registered)
  • Child's health report from the hospital

Benefits

The Ministry of Education funds some of the expenses of a child's special education; a report issued by the Special Education Evaluation Council (Özel E?itim De?erlendirme Kurulu) is required to qualify.

Educational Institutions

At present, special education is provided for sight impaired, hearing impaired, mobility impaired and chronically ill children.

A nationwide educational integration programme is being extended and work is in progress to allow students with disabilities to study at regular schools.

All the schools and associations for visually impaired children are listed on the web page of International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment.

The website of the Disabled and Elderly Services Directorate General (in Turkish) has information relating to students with disabilities.

Related Information

  • For a comprehensive article on Special Education in Turkey from Academia.edu: Click here