In 1920s, Atatürk invited John Dewey to be make a revolution on the Turkish education system. Dewey’s report about Turkish education gave inspiration for The Village Institues. These institues, which were established on the 17th of April, 1940 by the Act of Village Institues numbered 3803, have their own characteristics in terms of their functions and their foundation aims.(gefad.com, 2008) In the little villages and towns, boys and girls built their own schools. Teachers taught them from Tolstoy, Gorki, Zola, Woolf, Çehov to agriculture, carpentery, tailorship. Either they could have a cultural vision or an ability to work in a lot of profession. If The Village Institues had not been abolished, today there would be the more developed cultural life and more democratic political situation in Turkey.
In 1950, Democrat Party won the elemination and established the government. However the minister Celal Bayar promised İsmet İnönü not to close the institues, he abolished The Village Institues in 1953. DP and their followers claimed that the institues they were against turkish traditions, religion and morals, because islamic rules do not let boys and girls be together at the same place. Furthermore DP and their followers belived that girls and boys must not be together in the schools, however being together and working, studying are helpful situation for their visions. For example, Pakize Türkoğlu who is a graduate from a institues, said “They suppose that we were live separate from boys, they thought that we started to live all together with them when we started education in the ınstitues. No, we always lived all together with them in villages, we used to go to plateaus, fields, used to berry together as boys and girls.” (Türkoğlu, 2000)
Government wanted to close the ınstitues, because they blamed all teachers for being communists in the schools, arguing they gave the books which were full of communist and socialist ideas. The DP and some people who were followers of them believe that there were communists in the institues and they brainwashed the students, on the contrary there weren’t anything like that, just teachers who taught the literature of Russia, but not just Russian books. Only there were 5-6 instructers who had communist ideas and there weren’t anything dangerous. When the institues had been abolished 17.341 teacher were sacked (Dündar, 2000), so all of them got vacated and desperated. Nevertheless, until they were closed they gave over 15 thousand graduates. This was half of the total teachers in Turkey in 1954 when they were closed.( Gefad.com, 2008)
Conservative people and their party thought that if the Village Institues closed, culture and politic life would get beter, such that graduates who had studied in these institues would be conscious and sophisticated, naturally they would be more productive people than the young people of today, but today’s many people absolutely are not sophisticated or cultured, if you watch the news from assembly, you can comprehend easily; we elected them. Though people and government guessed when the institues closed, turkish traditional culture, morals and political life were saved, Turkish political life, and modern culture became worse and worse, yet the students couldn’t read Woolf, Antigonine, Çehov; when they didn’t read, they couldn’t argue, they had to leave playing the piano, balalaika, accordeon, violin… If they could continue their education, they had a really good vision. All boys and girls were learning professions, working as well as playing instruments, reading books and writing poems until their schools which were built by their own hands, had been abolished.
I believe that the most important labour in the Turkey, was the Village Institues. If the ınstitues hadn’t been abolished, new generations would be more awared, so turkish political life would be more democratic and people would be really more sophisticated.
In brief, the Village Institues victimed to religional thoughts, so our generations missed a country in which would be more democratic and avaliable to live.
Dündar, Can, Köy Enstitüleri, Ankara: İmge Yayınevi, 2000
Türkoğlu, Pakize, Tonguç ve Enstitüleri İstanbul: Türkiye İş Bankası Yayınları, 2000