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Turkey’s education minister resigns amid pandemic woes

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Turkey’s education minister, Ziya Selçuk, who has been at the center of criticism for poorly managing the pandemic for Turkey’s students and teachers, resigned late on Thursday.

Deputy education minister Mahmut Özer was appointed as the new education minister following Selçuk’s resignation in a decree issued by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The presidential decree published in the Official Gazette on Friday said Selçuk’s “request to be relieved of duty has been accepted.”

Selçuk was appointed education minister following the general elections of 2018.

“My time as education minister has come to an end as of today. I offer my thanks to our President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for giving me the opportunity to work for the children of my country,” Selçuk tweeted on Friday.

Selçuk received widespread criticism for keeping the country’s schools closed following the outbreak of the pandemic in Turkey in March 2020, for not taking the necessary measures to keep the schools open and for failing to provide support to families who lack the means for online education.

He was also at the center of criticism for failing to address Turkey’s long-standing problems in education such as thousands of unemployed teachers who are waiting to be appointed, educational inequality and physical capacity problems related to the schools.

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