Village Institutes

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Village Institutes (In Turkish: Köy Enstitüleri) is a group of co-ed, public, boarding, normal schools that were operational between 1940 and 1954 in Turkey. They were the cornerstones of the rural development project. At the time there weren't any schools in most of the villages. Village Institutes are established to train teachers for each village and send them back to form new village schools. Despite their short life, they highly increased the number of primary schools in the country. They had strong support from the prime minister İsmet İnönü and mostly established by minister of education Hasan Ali Yücel and the head of primary education İsmail Hakkı Tonguç.

Students were selected among the most successful students in the villages. In most of the institutes students built all the school buildings and farmed their own food. Their education included both practical (agriculture, construction, arts and crafts etc.) and classical (mathematics, science, literature, history etc.) courses. Their daily routine included morning gymnastics, reading hours and farming. They also had weekly meetings in which students can freely criticize teachers and school administration.

In the end of their service there were a total of twenty Village Institutes and one Superior Village Institute that trains teachers for the others. They gave about 25000 graduates.

Despite their great benefits, many parts of the society were against these schools. Conservatives opposed the co-ed education in a boarding school. It was very hard to persuade parents at villages to let their daughters to study there. Anti-communist and anti-socialist movements, strong at the time, attacked the schools and lower their reputation in the society. School libraries contained leftist books as well and students were expected to read different political thoughts. Also many landlords that control villages are disturbed by the highly educated teachers coming back. They not only formed primary schools but also educated the villagers both intellectually and about agriculture.

In 1945 the Village Institutes began to be subjected to violent attacks by the conservative wing of the RPP and the newly founded DP.[1] The Village Institutes were accused of fostering an subversive, unruly, anti-traditional generation and being the hotbeds of Marxist indoctrination. These attacks were waged mainly by the great landowners in and outside of the Parliament and their mouthpieces in the press.[1]

The Government was forced to close them due to strong pressure from the society, opposition party and upcoming elections. Although the government eventually lost the elections anyway. The Village Institutes were transformed into regular teacher-training schools by the Democrat Party government (elected in 1950) as a concession to the anti-secularist groups.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Sir H. A. R. Gibb, The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Brill Archive, page 282.
  2. ^ Marie Carlson, Annika Rabo, Fatma Gök, Education in 'multicultural' societies: Turkish and Swedish perspectives, Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul, 2007, ISBN 91-86884-20-4, page 94.

Further reading[edit]

  • A Vexliard, K Aytac (1964). "The Village Institutes in Turkey". Comparative Education Review 8 (1): 41. doi:10.1086/445031. 
  • Frank A. Stone (1974). "Rural Revitalization and the Village Institutes in Turkey: Sponsors and Critics". Comparative Education Review 18 (3): 419–429. doi:10.1086/445797. 
  • Omer Yılmaz (1977). "Schools for Developing Countries: The Turkish Village Institutes". Educational Planning 3 (4): 72–80. 
  • M. Asim Karaomerlioglu (1998). "The Village Institutes Experience in Turkey". British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 25 (1): 47–73. doi:10.1080/13530199808705654. 

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