Reading Educational Inequalities in Turkey: Statistics and Geographic Distributions

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Ataç Kavurmacı E.

EGITIM VE BILIM-EDUCATION AND SCIENCE, vol.42, no.192, pp.59-86, 2017 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 42 Issue: 192
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.15390/eb.2017.7124
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.59-86
  • Keywords: Educational inequalities, Geography of education, Regional inequalities, Equality of opportunity, Turkey, SEGREGATION
  • TED University Affiliated: Yes


It has now been widely accepted that a university degree is one of the prerequisites of achieving a high social and economic status. In most of the developed countries, a highly educated young generation is considered a path to a long term economic growth and a key factor in the face of a knowledge-based society. In both developed and developing countries, however, academic achievement and the provision of educational services are not distributed equally between different classes, social groups and even different geographies. Turkey is, in many ways, a good example to analyze educational inequalities where education is strongly a class related issue and there has also been a strong dimension of geography as far as the educational provision and performance are considered. The aim of this study is to analyze educational inequalities in Turkey based on school-based differences and district-level geographic distributions. In the article, statistical and spatial methods and the datasets of National University Entrance Examination (LYS), PISA, and Ministry of National Education are used. The main finding of the article is that university graduation as the main indicator of socio-economic status in Turkey is for the most part depends on regional and school-based inequalities. Inequality of opportunity in education makes socio-economic positions distinct and stable and this makes it difficult for the disadvantaged groups, in terms of the geography that they live in and the school types, to break the vicious circle in the long-term. The findings of the article, therefore, indicate how important to build long-term educational policies based on equality of opportunity.