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Greek minority schools suffer from lack of students February 15, 2010

Posted by Yilan in Turkey.
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According to the İstanbul Provincial Education Directorate’s 2009 data, there are 22 Greek minority schools in İstanbul, 17 of which are primary schools. Nine of these schools — in Bakırköy, Yeşilköy, Beyoğlu, Tarabya, Yeniköy, Feriköy, Karaköy and Kurtuluş — are currently closed due to a lack of students. The Greek Orthodox Halki Seminary on Heybeli Island in the Marmara and the Yuvakimyon Greek School for girls are also closed.

Most of the 11 schools that are currently open educate between 1 and 20 students apiece, although they used to serve 700 to 800 students in the past. The largest school is Zapyon Primary School, with 93 students, while Zoğrafyon High School follows it with 28. On the other hand, there is only one student at the Kadıköy Greek High School. The principal of the school, Hristo Peltemalcıoğlu, told the Anatolia news agency that the reason for the lack of students is the high average age of residents in the Kadıköy district.

Zapyon Primary School’s principal said the number of children in the Greek community that are school-aged but do not attend the community school is not very large and estimated the figure at 30 to 35.

İstanbul Provincial Education Director Muammer Yıldız, however, linked the lack of students at minority schools to the culture of living together in peace in Turkey and said this shows that Greek children are happy at other schools. “The low number of students does not mean the Greek population is on the decline in Turkey. This is a sign that the Turkish education system sees Greeks as its own citizens,” he said.

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