Gülen-Inspired Schools in Southern Kurdistan


Gülen-Inspired Schools, Southern Kurdistan, Gülen Movement, Hidden Curriculum


After the first Gulf War, the Kurds created a de facto government in Southern Kurdistan and formed the first cabinet of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in July 1992. The Ministry of Education undertook to guarantee an increase of human and material resources as well as making the Kurdish language as the language of study at all levels. However Southern Kurdistan still suffered shortages in education system; this unique situation was the most favorable time for investing in a private educational company. In 1994, the Fezalar Educational Institute started its education activities by opening the Ishik College in Erbil, and by 2016 thirty Gülen-inspired schools and the Ishik University had been established in the KRG. In the public sphere, these private educational institutions are known as Turkish Schools; due to the high standard of education, growth in the KRG was rapid, in spite of higher tuition fees. This research was to explore the relationship between the Gülen movement’s (Hizmet movement) educational ideology and their role in new KRG’s educational system. By demonstrating how the ideology of the Turkish-Islamic Gülen movement can have an influence on students with the distinction between overt and hidden curriculum, I argue that the ideological aims of this schools are supported by imprecise modern curricula in ensuring the conservative moral attitude, the scientific worldview without skepticism, and an inequitable educational structure.


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