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The following OECD assessment and recommendations summarise Chapter 5 of the Economic Survey of Turkey published on 18 October 2006.
Education reforms are needed to raise the productivity of the labour force and support job creation in the formal sector
Productivity and living standards are also heavily influenced by the quality of human resources. Turkish primary and secondary school education produces very poor average results, relative to those in other OECD countries. But in the best schools, standards are high. This reflects an education system that focuses on providing a good education to the most able students, who are admitted into the best schools (Anatolian and science high schools) and then channelled towards university and work in the formal sector. As a result, the most binding human capital shortages arise in the middle and low-end of the labour market. Despite this, resources continue to be skewed towards the ‘high end’. Overcoming this education duality, which is mirrored in the economy as a whole, will require a reorientation of education sector priorities, and a reallocation of educational resources so that higher quality education opportunities can be offered to all. The fundamental purpose of basic education should be reoriented away from the sorting and selecting of students for the elite schools, to a broader focus on providing the majority of young people with the basic literacy and numeracy skills that are necessary for the modern workforce. To achieve this, educational resources will have to increase when budget room is available, and increased spending should be allocated in a way that spreads resources more equitably across schools and regions. In addition, schools should be made more accountable for outcomes. Finally, all exams - including the university entrance exam - should be fully aligned with the curriculum to reduce the current barrier to higher education for students who do not have the means to pay for test preparation programmes. A more efficient and equitable education system will provide Turkey with a significantly higher-skilled labour force in the future, which will permit a higher pace of productivity growth and a significant increase in the average standard of living.
Public spending is skewed towards the elite schools
1. The remainder of students attend vocational and technical schools (19%), open education high schools (10%).
2. By school type.
Source: Ministry of National Education.
How to obtain this publication
The Policy Brief (pdf format) can be downloaded. It contains the OECD assesment and recommendations but not all of the charts included on the above pages.
The complete edition of the Economic survey of Turkey 2006 is available from:
For further information please contact the Turkey Desk at the OECD Economics Department at email@example.com. The OECD Secretariat's report was prepared by Rauf Gonenc, Anne-Marie Brook, Ugur Ciplak, Gökhan Yilmaz and Rina Bhattacharya under the supervision of Wilhem Leibfritz.