Public schools in Turkey
Dr Fatma Elhadad Date : 26 Apr 23

Many people who tend to travel to Turkey for permanent residence especially if they have children need to know more about steps of education in Turkey, how the educational system is organized and what advantages and disadvantages of public schools in Turkey so Let's discover these informations. 

Education in Turkey

Education in Turkey is overseen by the Ministry of National Education and is divided into several following levels:

1. Preschool Education

Preschool education in Turkey is optional and typically starts at age 36-72 months. It aims to provide children with a solid foundation for their future education. Preschool education can be provided by public schools in Turkey or private institutions such as

  • Nurseries
  • Kindergarten
  • Nursery school
  • Day-centers
  • Day care houses
  • Child care houses

2. Primary Education 

Primary education in Turkey is compulsory for all children between the ages of 6 and 14. It consists of an 8-year program divided into two stages: the first four years are primary school (ilkokul), followed by four years of middle school (ortaokul).

3. Secondary Education 

Secondary education in Turkey is not compulsory but is widely attended by students. It includes general high schools (lise) and vocational high schools (meslek lisesi). Students typically choose their track based on their interests and career goals.

4. Higher Education 

Higher education in Turkey is provided by the following:

  • universities
  • Faculties
  • Institutes
  • Conservatories
  • Applications and research centers
  • vocational schools
  • colleges. 

Turkish universities offer:

  • undergraduate (bachelor's)
  • graduate (master's)
  • doctoral (Ph.D.) programs in various fields of study. 

Read more about: P.h.D Study Guide in Turkey and Scholarship Details 

In public schools in Turkey, the primary language of instruction is Turkish. However, there are also private schools and universities that offer education in other languages, such as English, Arabic, or French.

Despite improvements in the education system, Turkey still faces challenges such as:

  • Disparities in access to quality education 
  • Overcrowded classrooms(35-40 students in each class)
  • Insufficient resources
  •  Need for more qualified teachers. 

Efforts are being made to address these issues and improve the overall quality of education in the country.

Education in Turkey offers a diverse range of opportunities for students at different levels. The government continues to invest in the education sector to enhance the quality of education and ensure that all students have access to learning opportunities that will prepare them for their future careers.

Turkish school system 

After a number of reforms, the Turkish school system is equal to the European standard of 12 years which is based on formula 4+4+4.

This formula means that education in Turkey divided into:

  • Primary school ( Ilkokul in Turkish) lasts for 4 years
  • Secondary school ( ortaokul in Turkey) lasts for another 4 years.
  • Senior high school ( lyceum or lise) lasts for another 4 years. 

The maximum grade is 100 points.

There are many schools in turkey which are classified into 2 categories

  • Public schools in Turkey 
  • Private schools in Turkey 

Here are the most significant differences between them:

Public schools in Turkey 

Private schools in Turkey 


Free of charge

Tuition fee of private school ranges from a few  hundred dollars to several thousand dollars annually 


  • Free of charge
  • High quality education
  • Trained teachers
  • Focus on academic excellence
  • Provide 2 or 3 meals per day.
  • Well equipped with chemistry and biology classrooms that enhance practical learning not only from books 
  • Fewer students 
  • High quality education
  • More Extracurricular activities 
  • More personalized educational experience
  • More resources 


  • Overcrowded( each class contains 35-40 students). 
  • Lack of free meals
  • Limited resources 
  • Longer learning process for more than 7 hours a day. 
  • More expensive 


2 shifts:

  • First one from 8am to 1pm
  • Second one from 1.30pm to 6pm. 

Only one shift from 9am to 4.30 pm

Special Schools in Turkey 

Special schools in Turkey cater to students with disabilities, special needs, or specific learning difficulties. These schools provide specialized education and support services to help students reach their full potential and participate in society.

Special schools in Turkey aim to promote inclusive education by providing a supportive environment where students with disabilities can learn alongside their peers without disabilities. This approach helps foster social integration and acceptance among students.

Special schools in Turkey develop individualized education plans (IEPs) for each student, outlining their specific learning goals, support needs, and accommodation to meet the unique needs of each student and ensure they receive appropriate educational support.

They offer a range of specialized services to support students with disabilities to help students overcome barriers to learning and enhance their overall development. These services include :

  • speech therapy
  • occupational therapy
  • physical therapy
  • counseling

Special schools in Turkey employ qualified and experienced teachers, therapists, and support staff who have expertise in working with students with disabilities to provide individualized support and create a nurturing learning environment for students.

Special schools in Turkey are equipped with facilities and resources that are accessible to students with disabilities, such as ramps, elevators, adaptive equipment, and sensory-friendly spaces. These accommodations ensure that all students can fully participate in school activities and programs.

Special Schools in Turkey

Primary and secondary schools in Turkey 

Primary school starts at the age of 6 and it's compulsory as all Turkish children must apply.

The exact date of starting the school year may vary every year as it's affected by the date of the religious holiday of Kurban Bayram but it usually starts on 10th of September.

The school year includes two semesters, each one lasts for 4 months with a two-week holiday in between.

During the term, students are given marks for their homework, principles, behavior and tests which are calculated at the end of the term and give average Marks in their subjects. 

Children can use only pencil in writing for some reason

  • More easier than pen
  • Write beautiful handwriting
  • Not afraid to make mistakes
  • Easily erased and corrected 

Parents have to buy uniforms for lessons and sports but textbooks and workbooks are paid for by the school. 

Pupils can go to school on foot or by school bus which picks up the students near their home and takes them back home after finishing the class. 

Public schools in Turkey are well equipped with computer labs and projectors. 

Parents can easily monitor the grades of their children as they are posted in electronic journals. 

The primary school system in Turkey aims to provide students with a solid foundation of knowledge and skills to prepare them for further academic pursuits as it focuses on holistic development including social skills, character building and academic achievement. 

High school in Turkey 

In order to enter a lyceum, students have to take the LGS at the end of 8th grade and the final grades of examinations determine the upper secondary school that you will able to attend so it's important to choose your upper secondary school and which course of study you prefer according to your academic goals and interests. 

General upper secondary school is the most important period in the educational journey as it prepares students for university. In the second year, you should choose your specialization which affects the subjects you study in greater depth. At the end of secondary school, all students should pass the YGS and LYS exams. 

Professional lyceums train professionals for work in 

  • tourism
  • medicine
  • teaching 
  • maritime industry. 

If you finish studying in such a lyceum with good grades,you can enter a university without needing to take any examinations. 

Anatolian lyceums. They are schools which focus on the in-depth study of a foreign language such as

  •  English 
  • German
  • Persian
  • Korean
  • other languages.

Fen lisesi is the name of Lyceum with advanced study of sciences such as

  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Mathematics 

Private Lyceums are colleges that are very competitive and selective so it's difficult to get into. 

Religious high schools focus mainly on the study of the koran and theology in addition to other subjects. 

High school in Turkey

School day in Turkey 

The typical school day in public schools in Turkey for students usually starts in the morning and ends in the afternoon. Here is a general overview of what a school day in Turkey might look like:

1. Morning Routine 

Students typically start their day by arriving at school in the morning. Schools in Turkey usually begin between 8:00 AM and 9:00 AM, depending on the grade level and the school's schedule.

2. Classes

In public schools in Turkey,the school day is divided into several class periods, with each period lasting around 45 minutes. Students attend different classes throughout the day, covering subjects such as math, science, language arts, social studies, and physical education.

3. Breaks 

In between classes, students have short breaks (5-10 minutes) to rest, socialize with classmates, and have snacks. There is usually a longer break for lunch, where students can eat meals brought from home or purchased at the school canteen.

4. Extracurricular Activities  

Such as sports, music, arts, or clubs which help students develop skills, interests, and social connections outside of the classroom.

5. Homework and Study Time 

Students are often assigned homework to complete after school. They may also have study time to review lessons, prepare for exams, and work on projects.

6. End of the School Day 

The school day in public schools in Turkey typically ends in the early afternoon, around 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM. After classes are over, students may participate in after-school programs or head home to relax and spend time with family.

7. Weekend Break

In Turkey, the school week usually runs from Monday to Friday( 35-40 hours totally) . Students have weekends off, which allows them to rest, engage in hobbies, participate in family activities, or pursue other interests outside of school.

The school day in public schools Turkey provides students with opportunities to learn, socialize, and grow both academically and personally.

Why study in Turkey? 

Studying in Turkey can be a rewarding experience for several reasons:

1. Quality Education 

Turkey has a long history of providing high-quality education, with many public schools in Turkey and universities offering programs accredited by international organizations. 

2. Diverse Culture 

Turkey is a country with a rich cultural heritage that blends Eastern and Western influences. 

Studying in Turkey allows students to immerse themselves in a diverse and vibrant culture, experience new traditions, and interact with people from different backgrounds.

3. Affordable Tuition 

Compared to many other countries, tuition fees in Turkish universities are relatively affordable which makes studying in Turkey a cost-effective option for international students seeking quality education without breaking the bank.

4. Strategic Location 

Turkey is strategically located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, making it a gateway to both continents. 

Students studying in Turkey have easy access to various cultural, historical, and economic opportunities in the region.

5. Scholarship Opportunities 

Turkish universities offer a range of scholarship programs for international students based on academic merit, financial need, or specific criteria. 

These scholarships can help offset tuition costs and support students during their studies.

6. Language Opportunities 

Studying in Turkey provides an opportunity to learn or improve language skills, especially Turkish which can open up new career opportunities and enhance intercultural communication skills.

7. Vibrant Student Life 

Turkish universities offer a vibrant student life with various extracurricular activities, clubs, and events in sports, arts, community service, and social activities to enrich their university experience.

8. Career Prospects 

Graduates from Turkish universities are well-regarded in the job market, both within Turkey and internationally. 



Is public school free in Turkey?

Public schools in Turkey are free and this includes primary and secondary schools. 

How good is Turkey’s education system?

Turkey is known for its high quality education especially after the significant progress in recent years. The country has a large number of public schools in Turkey, universities and educational institutions offering a wide range of programs. However, the quality of education can vary between institutions, with some universities ranking higher than others in international rankings.

Can foreigners go to school in Turkey? 

Yes , all children who have permanent residence in Turkey can go to public schools in Turkey or other educational institutes and study free of charge regardless of their citizenship. 



Studying in Turkey offers a unique blend of academic excellence, cultural diversity, affordability, and career opportunities that can enrich students' educational journey whether you choose public schools in Turkey or private as they all prepare students for success in a globalized world.


If you wanted to know more or have any questions, we are here to help you and you can always contact us:

Phone: 00905437394024

Or via WhatsApp through this link.

Resources :

ِRealize your dream now

and register in the best Turkish universities
Register Now
Please Contact Us For any Request