September 18, 2012 - 12:41 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Representatives of the Turkish-Armenian community have renewed their plea for reform in education to eliminate the state of uncertainty for children of Armenian immigrant workers, who are not considered officially eligible to receive education in state schools, through receiving a valid diploma rather than being granted “guest student status.”
Officials of the Gedikpaşa Armenian Protestant Church, which opened its doors last year to 84 students whose parents are undocumented immigrants in Turkey from Armenia, are still awaiting a response to their ongoing grievances.
The church officials are striving to provide education for 100 students this school year under tough conditions, facing many legal and physical challenges. The classes are held in the basement of the church and some of the makeshift classrooms have no doors. The classrooms used to be divided by curtains before board separators were recently installed.
Church officials and families are frustrated that nothing has changed since last year as they tried to address the fact that “guest student status” does not correspondent to the needs of Armenian immigrants' students. The parents of these Armenian children were concerned because guest student status would not be enough for their children, who needed proof of their education in Armenia, where they planned to return.
Armenian community representatives describe granting “guest student status” as a deceptive move aimed to silence the community. “Neither we nor any family are happy with that. We call on the state to give our children a valid certificate or a valid diploma.”
Turkey's new academic year has kicked off for around 17 million students and 800,000 teachers, with a new education system that increases the duration of compulsory education from an uninterrupted eight years to 12 years. The introduction of the system has sparked ongoing discussions over its practicability.