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Erdoğan presents new ‘moral’ education program

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday presented a new education program promoting the family and moral order, despite protests from teaching unions accusing him of Islamizing education, Agence France-Presse reported.

“The ultimate aim of these efforts is to bring up our children as people who respect morality, are courageous, willing, productive, compassionate, patriotic, blessed with critical sense, competent and virtuous and demonstrating spiritual integrity, with heart and body,” Erdoğan said.

He also lashed out at the “global scourge” of gender ideology and said there would be new lessons on “politeness, manners and the family within the structure of Turkish society.”

Erdoğan, who has often criticized LGBTQ rights groups, said there would be optional classes “on the holy Koran, the Prophet’s life” and other Islamic subjects.

Teaching unions called for a protest on Tuesday against the program, which they said was “contrary to secularism, science and democratic teaching.”

“We call on everyone to fight together for the rights and future of children,” Simge Yardım, board member of the Eğitim-Sen union, wrote on X.

The unions accuse the government of reducing the teaching of mathematics and science and replacing them with classes on Islam.

They complain that supposedly optional religious classes often become obligatory by default due to a lack of other options.

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