With 377 schools and nearly 50,000 students of the Maarif Foundation across world, Turkey now ranks among top five countries with its global school network, the foundation’s head said on Wednesday.
In an interview with Anadolu Agency, Birol Akgun discussed the past five years since the establishment of the foundation, and highlighted its operations and upcoming projects.
Stating that the Maarif Foundation was established in June 2016, one month before the coup attempt by the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), Akgun said the organization's early activities focused on taking over the FETO-affiliated schools abroad.
He also said they had contacts with host countries, developed relations, and eventually took over most of these schools while some countries opted to close and nationalize these schools. Turkey takes the lead in global school network with France, Germany, the UK, and China, the head of the foundation stated.
“Our foundation has so far taken over 230 FETO-affiliated schools in 19 countries,” said Akgun, noting that the Maarif Foundation contacted 104 countries officially in the past five years and reached protocols with 89 of them.
“We have schools in 44 countries, where 45,000 students have been trained and this figure is gradually increasing,” he said, adding: “About 5,700 students have graduated from high schools with an average of 1,000 students per year.”
The official further stated that 24 educational institutions are located in Africa, and there is a Maarif school in almost every Balkan country.
Stressing that the foundation was not solely established to fight FETO, Akgun said the schools also hold non-formal educational activities abroad as seen in Germany and France.
While holding educational activities in line with international and local accreditation standards, the schools also play a great role in teaching Turkish across the world, according to Akgun.
The foundation continues to operate three schools in Afghanistan despite the recent political and military developments, and the schools have been unaffected during the process, he said, adding some 6,500 students were taught at these schools in various provinces of Afghanistan.