Unemployed teachers protested in Turkey


In May 2015, thousands of unemployed teachers were demonstrating in Turkey. They protested against the high rate of unemployment and called for the creation of new employment opportunities in the teaching profession. According to the banners, 40,000 teachers are waiting to be appointed. The protests took place after the latest report about the rising unemployment was published. The report says that the current unemployment rate in Turkey is 11 % meaning around five million people. At the same time, the youth unemployment rate is 19 %.

The Turkish teacher union Eğitim SEN, the ETUCE member organisation in Turkey, has supported all actions of the unassigned teachers. According to the union, the term 'unassigned' is used since even though these teachers have got all requirements for teaching, the government does not appoint them into schools. The graduates from the education faculties first have to pass a national exam called KPSS. Between 2003 and 2014, only 16 out of 100 graduates managed to pass the exam and to be assigned. This has caused depression amongst the aspirants and even more than 40 unassigned teachers have committed suicide in recent years. According to Eğitim SEN, assignments should be planned by the government in order to compensate the shortage of teachers. The situation is aggravating since the government has the intention to privatise schools.

Earlier this year, thousands of teachers and students across Turkey protested against the government's moves to increase Islamic teaching in schools. Last year, teachers demonstrated against the neoliberal education reform of the government. The Justice and Development Party (AKP), which had governed Turkey since 2002, lost their parliamentary majority but remained as the largest party in Parliament after the Turkish general election, held on 7 June 2015.