Tasked with embodying Turkish values and creating an independent, professional class, these schools evoke national pride.
The purpose of the nationalist revolution that was implemented after 1923 was, according to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, to promote freedom and to educate the people so that they were no longer subjected to foreign influence. In a country with a literacy rate of just 7% at the start of the 1920s and which had as few as 4,000 elementary schools and 64 middle schools, education was declared to be of the highest priority and received substantial funding. The 1924 Constitution made elementary education compulsory and free of charge to all boys and girls. The Republic’s founders saw this as the country’s main instrument of reform along secular lines. They designed a nationalist, patriotic, and independent school system that, according to them, would no longer be subject to Western or Eastern influences. Symbolic of this desire for independence, in 1928 the Turkish parliament decided to reform the language, simplifying orthography and switching to a Latin alphabet.