Turkey's parliament approves closure of 'dershane'

Photo: Turkey's parliament approves closure of 'dershane' / Turkey

The Turkish Parliament voted Friday to close all private tutoring centers - widely known as 'dershane' in Turkish - by September 2015 and convert them into conventional private schools, Anadolu Agency reported.

The parliament passed the first section of an extensive legislation package, which includes the 'dershane' regulation, on the country's educational system.

According to the legislation, the private tutoring centers, which help students prepare for high school and university entrance exams, will be allowed to operate until September 1, 2015, before being placed into a conversion program.

The state will employ 'dershane' personnel in state schools if they pass an oral exam.

The new bill also removes the term 'dershane' from the country's private schools law.

After all sections are submitted to a vote, the legislation will require President Abdullah Gul's ratification to enter into force.

The Turkish government announced plans last November to eradicate the 'dershane,' a substantial number of which are run by a movement headed by Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic preacher living in self-imposed exile in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania.

The announcement of the plan triggered a conflict between the government and Gulen, whose followers have been accused by the government of infiltrating key state institutions and of forming an illegal 'parallel state.'

This 'parallel' group, according to government sources, launched an alleged anti-graft operation on December 17, targeting a number of government allies.

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