21 Nisan 2012 Cumartesi

‘New school entry age not pedagogically suitable for learners’

Most educational psychologists and education specialists agree that the new school entrance age, which will vary between 5 and 6 in a proposed 12-year education system, is not pedagogically suitable for young learners.
There is heated debate among educators and education psychologists over the new change in the minimum school entry age, which will be decreased to age 5 if a new compulsory education bill seeking to increase the duration of current compulsory education from eight years to 12 becomes law, but most of them believe the new school entry system will not be suitable in terms of the cognitive, affective and psychomotor development of learners.
Education Minister Ömer Dinçer, speaking to the press in Ankara on Monday, said the latest age for starting school will be 72 months, which corresponds to the age of 6, and the earliest age possible for a child to be admitted to school will be 60 months (age 5) if the bill is passed. This means that children who turn 5 can be admitted to school if their parents so request. The minimum school entry age is 6 when there is no parental consent to send a child to school earlier.
A psychologist from the private İçe Bakış Family Counseling Center, Belkıs Ertürk, told Today’s Zaman that lowering the school entry age to 5 is not appropriate because their level of readiness is not suitable for a first grade education. Ertürk added those children who start at 5 won’t be cognitively ready because children at that age have attention spans of about 15 minutes, which can cause problems in teaching and learning processes in 40-minute classes. “Students at a lower level of development will feel inferior to students at a higher level after they see they cannot accomplish the tasks as successfully as the older ones can,” Ertürk noted.
Child development specialist Gözde Erdoğan told Today’s Zaman that developmental processes may vary from student to student, so children should be assessed in terms of their cognitive, affective and psychomotor developmental levels before they are admitted to school.
Erdoğan added that students’ ages should also be considered while determining the classes because so much difference in a class in terms of developmental levels will cause students with a lower developmental level to develop emotional and psychological trauma.
“Younger students will not be able to compete with older students in classes, which can damage the sense of self esteem in early students,” she said.
Highlighting the importance of preschool education, Erdoğan stated that with the new system, the importance of preschool education increases because a preschool education helps students make a much smoother transition to school. Students who have a preschool education before primary school will have more positive attitudes towards school.
Speaking to Today’s Zaman, Education Personnel Union (Eğitim-Sen) Secretary-General Tuğrul Culfa said the new school entry system is not suitable educationally. Culfa added that educating students at different developmental levels is not possible; it cannot be effective educationally and students should be educated with their peers. Defining the new school entry age system as an “education massacre,” Culfa pointed out that Turkey tried such a system with a regulation in 1983, but the regulation was retracted after it became unsuccessful in terms of education.
However, the Education Personnel Labor Union (Eğitim Bir-Sen) Secretary-General Ahmet Özer, who spoke to Today’s Zaman, disagreed with people who think the new system is not suitable. Özer said keeping the minimum age for school entry flexible is advantageous. Stating that the current school entry age is very strict, Özer said the children’s developmental stages may vary although they are at the same age, and children with a higher developmental level, who have to wait until they turn 72 months in the current system, lose a year of their education, but with the new system they will not have to wait to attend school. Özer said parents and school management would decide jointly when children should register for school. This means parents will have a say in their children’s education. Özer also added that children who haven’t reached the necessary developmental level to attend school would be able to attend preschool. The children can attend preschool for two years until they are ready for a primary school education.


1 yorum:

  1. I will teach Kindergarten this year and we are gonna have 4-5 y.o together:(