The education department of Turkey has decided to exclude lessons on Theory of Evolution from its ninth grade biology books in the next academic year. The subject was thought to be controversial and redundant. Moreover, the government thinks that the teenagers in school are too young to understand the complex ideas expressed in the theory.
With that logic, students in Turkey will only be able to learn Charles Darwin’s theory when they reach college. The decision has been approved by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The textbooks for the next academic year are set to be published next week when the holy month of Ramadan ends.
“We have undertaken a simplification in the curriculum. In educational programs we are trying to convey basic values, information, skills, capability, sufficiency, attitude, and good behavior to our children. We have tried to add our local and national values to the curriculum,” said the head of the Education Ministry’s curriculum board Alpaslan Durmuş. He added that the government was trying to remove redundancies by removing elements inappropriate to the local values.
With this, Turkey will become the second country after Saudi Arabia to exclude Theory of Evolution from their school curriculum. The decision was made since it defies the religious beliefs of Muslims who believe in the creationist theory, that Allah made the world in six days. Other Muslim countries have both the theories as a part of their school curricula.
The decision has met with a lot of opposition within as well as outside of Turkey. The academic and scientific communities, and even the country’s main opposition has criticized the move. They believe that this will push the country towards more conservative beliefs rather than secular ones. The opposition, meanwhile, said that it will challenge the decision in the country’s highest court of law.