World Bulletin/News Desk
A government-backed education project, the Movement to Increase Opportunities and Technology (FATİH), which was launched at pilot schools in February 2012 by the General Directorate of Innovation and Educational Technologies (YEĞİTEK) of the Ministry of Education, is being investigated due to corruption claims stemming mainly from overspending. According to a news report from the Milliyet daily, an investigation was recently initiated over claims that over TL 33 million was spent in the first half of 2013 -- the estimated budget for the entire project is at TL 3 billion -- and FATİH's budget included a long list of expenses: costly constructions, like the “space roof” erected over the YEĞİTEK building; some bureaucrats' religious trips to Mecca; the recruitment of lawyers who requested high salaries although the Ministry of Education already has 21 lawyers; and the appointment of 56 staff members even though 142 teachers had already been appointed by the general directorate.
Turkish media reported that Education Minister Nabi Avcı has appointed investigators to look into the FATİH project after allegations of overspending were made against it. The project is still ongoing.
The project has also failed to attain a number of its goals, according to a recent survey carried out by the Ministry of Education. Some 4,000 students and 500 teachers took part in the survey. The study showed that tablet PCs and smart boards delivered to schools -- a main initiative of the project -- did not contribute to students' success and only marginally helped their problem-solving abilities, questioning skills and effective use of language -- the central goals of the project.
The only goal achieved was the use of technology, according to the survey results, but both students and teachers found the content provided by the tablet PCs to be insufficient.
The pilot phase of the project was launched with the delivery of about 12,000 tablet PCs and 1,496 smart boards to 52 schools across Turkey on the first day of the second term of the 2011-2012 academic year. In many schools, the smart boards were installed behind schedule due to technical problems. Because the content preparation phase was less than five months, the material on the tablet was also found to be lacking.
The FATİH project had topped Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's agenda during his visit to Silicon Valley in the San Francisco Bay Area in May. In Silicon Valley, Erdoğan was briefed on the latest developments in technology. He first visited Microsoft and was welcomed by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who briefed the prime minister on educational software.Güncelleme Tarihi: 24 Ağustos 2013, 13:37