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More than a virus: How COVID 19 infected education in Turkey?

Today globalism has reached the point that an incident that takes place in a country can rapidly influence other parts of the world (Gilliom, 1981; Hicks, 2003; Kirkwood, 2001; Merryfield & Kasai, 2004). The ongoing coronavirus outbreak is a grand example of this phenomenon. The virus has spread to at least 187 countries and territories in five months after having first been reported in Wuhan, China. As of June 2020, more than 6.2 million people have been infected (World Health Organization [WHO], 2020). The pandemic has not just affected healthcare systems around the world, but it has also forced governments to take measures to limit the economic and social damages arising from the contagion. Education systems have been particularly affected. After the WHO’s declaration of the coronavirus as a pandemic on March 11th, 2020 many countries have been compelled to shift to online education without any thorough preparations. Turkey, which is one of these countries, launched their online instruction process for all levels from kindergarten[anaokulu] to high school[lise] on March 23rd, 2020 after only preparing in a week (Milli Eğitim Bakanlığı [Ministry of National Education], 2020). While the Turkish government has been trying to establish a solid, safe and, dependable distance learning setting for millions of students across the country, inevitable disputes about the differences in theory and practice have started. The foci of the said disputes are on citizenship education and its indivisible parts such as equality and fairness. Since Social Studies Teachers should prepare young people for active civic life, social studies content knowledge and disciplinary inquiry and provide the foundation for civic life (National Council for the Social Studies [NCSS], 2018) social studies instructors are bound to take part in the dispute. Therefore, in our role as social studies teachers, we aim to summarize how the coronavirus has affected education, by casting light on its actors’ responses to the distance learning process as teachers, parents, and students in Turkey. To draw a general picture of the Turkish Education System after the background information has been given, the most striking dimensions of distance learning and examples of how the coronavirus has affected citizen participation will be discussed in the following chapters.

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Melisa Akbulut, Uğur Şahin, Ali Can Esen
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