The National Education Board Conferences and Political Transition: 1939-1960 Changing Perceptions of Schooling and Dialogue of Negotiations
This thesis uses the published reports that represent the National Education Board Conferences (Milli Egitim Suralari) as a means of exploring both change and continuity in the national system of education during mainly the 1940’s and 1950’s specifically within the context of the political transition between the single-party and multi-party periods. Too often, these Conferences have been utilized as mirrors that simply reflect the most critical issues of education throughout Republican history, while this is an
oversight. What this thesis proposes to do is, without assuming that the selected topics of discussion during the Conferences are the most central points of the time, to take a more critical approach towards the character of the Conferences and delve into the details of how the roles, functions, and perceptions of the Conferences evolved within two very dynamic decades. While the contextual portion of the thesis focuses on producing a framework surrounding the general educational developments from the birth of the Republic to the military intervention of 1960 and focusing on the push for a nationalistic system of schooling, the section aiming to be critical examines more specific aspects of the Board Conferences themselves. The following chapters will also briefly analyze the
weight of the Board’s advisory role to the Ministry of Education on issues of religion, technical schooling, the Village Institutes, and democracy in education. It will then be argued that while the Board’s suggestions are generally reflected in governmental policy, there are significant cases in which the advice of the Board and laws and regulations do not correspond. Finally, this thesis will demonstrate that while the Conference reports contain a plethora of information that gives valuable insight into the growth of a nation, the entity itself that can and should be analyzed for not only outcomes, but for the behind-the-scenes perspective as well.