A Brief History of the Faculty
Atatürk Education Faculty is the oldest/longest-established teacher-training institution in Turkey. This is due to the fact that the Faculty’s origin is rooted in the Dârülmuallimîn-i Rüşdî (Teacher Training School for Secondary Education in the Ottoman Empire) which was established in 1848.
The Dârülmuallimîn-i Rüşdî was founded on the 16th March 1848 in Istanbul with the aim of training teachers for positions in the Ottoman junior high school system which were themselves the first civilian modern educational institutions of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman junior high schools are comparable to the secondary stage of education (6th, 7th and 8th grades) of elementary schools in today’s education system. At that time, there were no other schools to train teachers for the first stage of education in the Ottoman school system. Ottoman elementary schools continued their traditional educational and training activities under the influence of the madrasahs (Muslim theological schools) until the 1860’s. After the foundation of modern elementary schools, the Dârülmuallimîn-i Sıbyan (School of Teacher Training) was founded in Istanbul in 1869 to train teachers for those schools.
In 1869, the Maarif-i Umumiye Nizamnamesi (Ministry of National Education) re-organized the Ottoman education system in accordance with the model underlying the French education system. This regulation stipulated a three-phase education system consisting of elementary, secondary and higher education. According to the regulation, the aim was to train teachers for elementary and secondary education. While the Dârülmuallimîn-i Sıbyan was outside this system, its administrative aspect was linked to this organization. This was an advanced idea for the time and it was,thus, decreed to be an institution that would train teachers, like today’s education faculties, for all stages of the educational cycle, excluding higher education.
The Dârülmuallimîn-i Kebîr, consisting of teacher training sections for elementary, secondary and preparatory level sections for entry to military academies, and began operating in 1874. However, in later years, the elementary section mainly functioned in an independent or autonomous manner. Subsequently, the Dârülmuallimîn-i Kebîr was renamed as the Dârülmuallimîn-i Âliye. This institution which had been re-constituted included primary, secondary and higher sections. With this structure, it regained its previous characteristic of serving as an institution which trained teachers under the same roof for all stages of elementary and secondary education.
After the proclamation of the republic in 1923, the Dârülmuallimîn-i Âliye operated, for a while, as the Yüksek Muallim Mektebi (Higher Instructors School). In 1923 and 1924, the secondary branch which had closed several years earlier, was replaced with a section to train teachers for secondary schools. However, this section did not exist for long. The school was renamed as the Higher Teachers School in 1936 and became an institution which trained only high school teachers. Until 1959, it retained its characteristic as the only teacher-training institution for high school teachers. The section which trained teachers for elementary schools operated separately from this institution as the Teacher Training School for Male Teachers.
In the 1946-1947 academic year, the Atatürk Education Institute was established to uphold the educational mission of the Dârülmuallimîn-i Rüşdî (founded in 1848) and also to train teachers for secondary schools. Within a short period of time, this newly-founded institution had become one of the institutions capable of educating the best-qualified teachers in Turkey.
In 1978, the Istanbul Higher Teacher Training School, the successor institution to the Dârülmuallimîn-i Kebîr/Dârülmuallimîn-i Âliye comprising also the Dârülmuallimîn-i Rüşdî (founded in 1874 and having started to function even earlier in 1848), was closed down along with all other teacher training institutions in Turkey. In that same year, Atatürk Education Institute was forced to stop its teaching activities, like other Turkish teacher- training institutions, due to the terrorism and anarchism prevailing in the country, which had spread to teacher-training institutions. The other three-year higher educational institutions were transformed into higher teacher schools, with an organizational framework and program that differed from the preceding institutions. After a two year hiatus, Atatürk Education Institute started to operate again under a new name-this time as the Atatürk Higher Teachers School.
The Atatürk Higher Teachers School, like all other higher educational institutions in Turkey, came under the aegis of the newly-created Higher Education Council’s legal order. It also became one of the units which constituted the newly-founded Marmara University in 1982, under the name of Atatürk Education Faculty. Initially, Atatürk Education Faculty started to function with an affiliated Higher School of Education and comprised eight departments. This Higher School of Education was closed in 1992 and the Departments of Pre-School Education and Classroom Teaching were directly attached to the Faculty. One year later, the Faculty’s Department of Physical Education and Sport, which had been under the control of the Ministry of National Education until 1982 as a part of the Anadoluhisarı Academy of Youth and Sports, was attached to the Rectorate affiliated Higher Education School of Physical Education and Sport.
In 1994, the Divisions of Physical Sciences, Social Sciences and Foreign Language Education which had hitherto conferred on students more than one diploma were abolished and were transformed into separate departments with each department offering its own degree program. Thus, the number of the department in the Faculty increased to 17 in total.
In 1998, Atatürk Education Faculty, together with all other education faculties in the country, was re-structured by the Higher Education Council. Among the justifications for this restructuring was the need to make a start on ensuring that the education faculties’ programs resembled those offered in the faculties of science and arts; thereby, allowing the emergence of two different faculties with very nearly the same quality of education. The fact that many instructors who worked in education faculties – excluding those whose professional focus was on the educational sciences – were content with conducting only their own specialist, subject-related research without reference to the scope of teacher-training-was an important factor in driving this process. With the restructuring process, it was decreed that students who followed a teacher-training programme in the Division of Secondary School Social Studies and the Division of Secondary School Science and Mathematics Education would henceforth take their subject-specific courses from the faculties of science and literature. In conjunction with this change, instructors who preferred to continue purely with their own subject-related teaching and research work were transferred to the faculties of science and literature. This process was also carried out in a similar way in Atatürk Education Faculty. Thus, the Faculty was to a significant extent, recalibrated as an institution capable of undertaking its fundamental function in the area of teacher training.
According to the organizational structure envisaged by the restructuring process, Atatürk Education Faculty now consists of the Divisions of Educational Sciences, Elementary Education, Turkish Education, Foreign Languages Education, Fine Arts Education, Computer and Instructional Technologies Education, Secondary School Physics and Mathematics Education, and Secondary School Social Education. Later, the Department of Special Education for the handicapped also became a part of the Faculty. Thus, the Faculty became an institution which awards qualifications and teacher-training education in 21 different departments under the auspices of the aforementioned divisions.