Educational decentralization as part of public administration reform in Turkey

Sen D., Bandyopadhyay A.

2nd World Conference on Educational Sciences (WCES-2010), İstanbul, Turkey, 4 - 08 February 2010, vol.2, pp.269-276 identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • Volume: 2
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2010.03.009
  • City: İstanbul
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.269-276
  • Keywords: Education decentralization, Turkey, public administration reform
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


This paper will examine current discussions in Turkey centered around the likely decentralization of its educational system as part of ongoing reform efforts in public administration. Ironically, both proponents and opponents of the education decentralization problematize issues related to resource allocation and discrepancies in educational quality and access under the current centralized system. Proponents argue that greater autonomy at the local levels will improve educational quality, enhance stakeholder participation in the administration of the schools, encourage a democratic environment, and create a more responsive and accountable system. Opponents, on the other hand, worry that the primary problem is in fact the state's approach to public education than the actual variations in educational provision. Although it is too early to speculate the model of decentralization that will be selected, issues such as personnel administration, funding of education, and adherence to principles of unity of education and secularism of the existing system remain controversial issues. Further, current concerns pertaining to teacher recruitment practices, private spending on education and inadequate state allocation raises questions about the exact motives for decentralization. Against this backdrop, this paper will examine how a possible decentralization of Turkey's educational system will impact issues of quality and equity. It will do so by first examining the current decentralization policies being envisioned in Turkey. Following that, it explores selected country cases, which made the transition from a centralized educational structure to a decentralized setting and investigates the demonstrated impact of the switch. Subsequently, given the somewhat similarities between those studied in the paper and Turkey, this paper concludes that in formulating policies, especially those favoring possible decentralization, policymakers must be mindful of the global evidence that is available. Further, given the current challenges facing Turkey, decentralization of the educational sector might actually exacerbate the very issues that proponents of the policy hope would disappear. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.