An alarming statistic in youth education

Dünya Executive - - COMMENTARY -

The Turkish Statistica­l Institute has been releasing very strange figures on employment over the last couple of years. These figures have revealed the failures in our education system behind employment and provide us with some important context.

Unemployme­nt decreased yearon-year but some have doubts about how it happened. Anyway, the figures say there is a decline. Even if it is a healthy decline, unemployme­nt is still one of the most important problems Turkey faces. The unemployme­nt rate is the most important datum among all employment figures.

As we mentioned before, there are some details in the newly-created figures, forcing into our faces the striking truth of the dark side of Turkey. Since 2014, this new data set has laid bare the education and employment status of youth between the ages of 15-24.

We are, unfortunat­ely, used to youth unemployme­nt in Turkey. High unemployme­nt rates among university graduates are kind of normal for us now. But there is a striking detail among those figures, and it is not possible to get used to it, or to find it reasonable and to consider it as normal.

Such a rate n th s era!

According to Turk Stat figures, the total population between 1524 was 11.876 million in November 2017. Of those, 2.7 million were neither studying nor working, a sobering statistic of 23 out of every 100 young people excluded from education and the employment figures. And this figure is rising at an alarming pace.

But the detail we want to emphasize is the education status of these 11.876 million young people.

Primary education has been compulsory in our land for more than a century. And yet, in November 2017 there were still some illiterate people among those between the ages of 15 and 24.

Here are the official figures from the state: 221,000 out of the total youth population are illiterate. The ratio is around two percent.

Every two out of one hundred young people can’t read the signboards and has to ask around about when they should take the bus or where the bus goes. Naturally, he or she doesn’t read any newspaper or book. And it is now 2018.

The majority of these illiterate young people – 126,000 - are women. But let’s underline a fact: It’s nothing new. It was always there; we just didn’t know about this as it was never in the statistics prior to 2014. Now we must face this terrible fact.

But there is a slight bit of good news in all this: the illiterate percentage of the total youth population was round three percent at the start of 2014 and declined to two percent by the end of last year.

And just to be clear: Syrian refugees do not play a role in these figures. So almost all of these 221,000 illiterate youth are Turkish.

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