December 21, 2012 - 12:41 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Turkey’s Education Minister Ömer Dinçer paid a visit to Mıhitaryan Armenian School in Şişli’s Pangaltı neighborhood of Istanbul, becoming the first minister from the department to visit an Armenian school, Hürriyet Daily News reported.
The occasion was in return for a visit last year in which students from the school came to Dinçer’s office to request that hostile wording about Armenians be removed from textbooks.
“Minorities think they are the only ones who are subjected to problems, but this is not the case,” Dinçer said during the event, which included a cocktail. “In the past, not only the minorities and Alevis, but Sunnis were also victimized by authoritarian rulings and violations of rights and liberties. We aim to spread [practices in accordance with] human rights and liberties. The only way to create a peaceful atmosphere in society is democracy.”
The minister also touched on elective courses on mother tongues that began this school year. “We are taking our actions by considering that each child is an independent individual,” Dinçer said.
The ministry drew reaction after stipulating that such classes would only be opened after 10 students expressed a wish to take the lessons.
Addressing recent discussions over the inclusion of religious questions into university entrance exams, the minister said: “The subject was unfortunately misrepresented to the public. The lessons have been given and the questions have been asked under the category of ‘Education for Religion and Ethics’ for years. It is not about a specific religion. [Students from] minority schools will be asked other questions in accordance with their curriculum.”