The refusal by officials to admit female students wearing the Muslim headscarf into an examination for Turkey’s distance-learning schools garnered mixed responses, but mostly anger.
Headscarved students who were not allowed to sit the national Open Learning High Schools examinations in Manisa wait outside the exam building.
Many headscarved students were blocked by officials acting on a notice from the Education Ministry from entering exam rooms in schools across the country on Saturday for the national Open Learning High Schools, a state distance-education program, according to the version of the story published in conservative dailies Vakit and Milli Gazete.
The distance-learning programs, where classes are broadcast on state TV and radio channel TRT 4, offer girls who cannot go to regular state schools because of the headscarf ban the opportunity to get an education in the comfort of their own homes and alleviate the consequences of state-sponsored discrimination and social exclusion.
However, the mainstream Milliyet newspaper wrote that the Education Ministry had not sent orders to all schools, causing some schools to let in girls with headscarves to take the test, while others were forced to remove them at the door. Milliyet accused the Education Ministry of purposefully making it easier for headscarved students to take the test, despite a ruling from the Council of State stipulating that this is a violation of the law. [Link]
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