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Turkish Review - - CONTENTS - By Er­doan Shipoli

Fatih Univer­sity

Safety beyond the school gate

There are around 16 mil­lion stu­dents and around 600,000 teach­ing staff around Turkey. As such a big sec­tor, ed­u­ca­tion in Turkey needs to be ad­dressed from mul­ti­ple per­spec­tives. The In­ter­na­tional Strate­gic Re­search Or­ga­ni­za­tion (USAK/ISRO) has pub­lished a re­port on se­cu­rity in and around schools. The re­port presents a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive on school se­cu­rity in Turkey and gives sug­ges­tions on how to strate­gi­cally ap­proach the topic, an­a­lyze rel­e­vant is­sues and as­sess ex­ist­ing se­cu­rity threats. Among other sug­ges­tions, this re­port posits that se­cu­rity threats and prob­lems at schools should be ad­dressed by a co­op­er­a­tive of dif­fer­ent ac­tors and in­sti­tu­tions.

The re­port was pre­pared by Dilek Karal -- whose re­search in­ter­ests in­clude women, im­mi­gra­tion, ur­ban­iza­tion, lan­guage, cul­ture and pol­i­tics -- with the help of Mehmet Güçer and El­van Ay­demir. The re­port dis­plays a sig­nif­i­cant depth of re­search and anal­y­sis by the au­thor. Firstly, Karal ar­gues that as liv­ing stan­dards and fu­ture ex­pec­ta­tions in­crease in Turkey, so too do se­cu­rity threats. The au­thor ar­gues that it is not enough to work only on the preven­tion of crime and vi­o­lence in schools: The is­sue is a broader topic, which in­cludes the preven­tion of crime and vi­o­lence; the re­vis­ing of the phys­i­cal state of the schools and school prop­er­ties; the de­vel­op­ment and psy­cho­log­i­cal state of the stu­dents; the re­la­tions of stu­dents with their fam­i­lies; and good com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween the gen­er­a­tions.

The au­thor de­scribes “school” as a place where chil­dren are not beaten by their teach­ers, the ad­min­is­tra­tion, or the per­son­nel of the in­sti­tu­tion, and where they are not in di­rect con­tact with vi­o­lence. The so­cial life, in­te­rior and de­sign of the school must pro­vide chil­dren with a sense of se­cu­rity, away from vi­o­lence. Se­cu­rity per­cep­tion in schools is as im­por­tant as ed­u­ca­tion, for the au­thor. Ac­cord­ing to this study, there is an in­verse relation be­tween stu­dents’ suc­cess and the vi­o­lence they en­counter at school. The au­thor finds schools in Turkey suc­cess­ful in terms of ed­u­ca­tion, and links this to stu­dents’ sense of se­cu­rity at school. But, the au­thor ar­gues, to in­crease stu­dents’ suc­cess in learn­ing, self-con­fi­dence, and gen­eral qual­ity of life, schools need to of­fer them op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­press them­selves and show their tal­ents. Fur­ther­more, the au­thor claims, the school en­vi­ron­ment is also very im­por­tant for chil­dren. In Turkey, she ar­gues, there is a prob­lem

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