6567 STUDENT PRISONERS ENROLLED IN OPEN EDUCATION UNIVERSITY ARE FACED WITH THE DEPRIVATION OF EDUCATION DUE TO UNPAID TUITION FEES
TCPS Press Relase 22
22 February 2018
There are 235.888 prisoners in Turkey’s prisons. According to the most recent figures, 69.301 of these prisoners are students. The number of those enrolled in open education programs is 33.268. (Middle School 6.643, High School 20.058, University 6.567)
According to a protocol signed between the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Family and Social Policy on June 12, 2014 “the examination and tuition fees for detainees and prisoners studying at Open Education University, Open Education High School or Middle School” - who lie within the scope of the Law of Encouraging of Social Aid and Solidarity - have been paid by MoFSP. The protocol was valid for 3 years and terminated on June 12, 2017. The Ministry of National Education continues to pay the tuition fees for students enrolled in Open Education Middle School and Open Education High School “due to the order given to it”, but 6567 students enrolled in Open Education University are faced with deprivation of educational rights in this interm registration period.
We have received many applications from the prisoners indicating they can not pay the tuition fees.It is obvious that most of the 6567 prisoners enrolled in Open Education University have no income and lack the financial means to pay the tuition fees.
Education is a constitutional right. It is not acceptable that prisoners be deprived of their right to education simply because they can not afford the tuition fees.
Having received the applications we have communicated over the phone with the Ministry of Justice, General Directorate of Prisons and Detention Houses, Ministry of Family and Social Policies, Ministry of Education, Higher Education Council, administration offices of the prisons from which we received applications, relevant governorships and also Social Assistance and Solidarity Foundation to solve the problem and for the Open Education University students to continue with their education.We contacted and met with deputies from different parties and the Human Rights and Equality Institution in order to bring forward the subject at the parliament. We hope those initiatives will result in a solution that prevents any loss of rights.
The Ministry of Justice bears primary responsibility. Taking into consideration the fact that registration period for open education this year ends only a few days later, Ministry of Justice should take an urgent action to save about 7 thousand students from losing a year.