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Turkish government begins shutting down private prep schools

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Turkey’s Education Ministry has announced that private prep schools will be closed down as of the 2019-2020 academic year, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported on Monday.

In a statement on its website the ministry said private prep schools, which are known as dersanes in Turkey, should not enroll new students or hold exams to give scholarships to new students as of next year in order to prevent students and parents from suffering any harm.

The ministry said free courses would be offered to students at schools and public training centers.

The government first announced its plan to close down dersanes in November 2013, which was interpreted by many as a blow to free enterprise and the beginning of a war the Turkish government launched on the Gülen movement, which used to run thousands of dersanes in Turkey.

Over the course of the next five years, the government has engaged in a full-fledged crackdown on the movement, closing down all of its organizations in Turkey and accusing it of masterminding a failed coup in July 2016.

The movement, now labeled as a terrorist organization by the Turkish government, strongly denies any involvement in the failed coup and any terrorist activity.

Many Turkish parents send their students to prep schools because they feel getting extra educational support is a must given the poor record of education in Turkey’s state-run schools and the fact that students have to compete with millions for entry to quality schools and universities.

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