Human Rights in Textbooks III (together with the History Foundation)

Between January 2012 and May 2013, the collaborative project between the Historical Foundation and SECBIR with the support of the European union aims to research and report both recorded developments and continuing issues in textbooks. Additionally, the project aims to develop example course materials for Ottoman as well as World History classes and share these materials with teachers in three different provinces in Turkey.

Project Team:

  • Project Coordinator: Gülay Kayacan
  • Project Assistant: Ozan Torun
  • Education Coordinator: Melisa Soran
  • Educational Assistants: Melike Ergün, Muhsine Önal


Teacher’s Workshop: “Discussing Controversial Issues in an Educational Setting” Certificate Program

  • Turkish society is in undergoing great change; this change brings not only the potential for conflict but also for political and civil democratization.  Within this framework, social peace and democratization conditions need to be understood from a new perspective.  This new way of thinking is allowing for the strengthening of education. With the aim of sharing with teachers and educators the resources from the program to support and strengthen teachers by SEÇBİR and the Education Reform Initiative (ERG) a certificate program was started under the roof of Istanbul Bilgi University.  The aim of this program is to create an education setting oriented towards critical thinking especially in regards to controversial issues.  A special focus is given to cross-disciplinary application. The certificate program, to be implemented every academic semester, began with the 2013-2014 Fall semester.  The first session will occur over 13 weeks every Saturday between the 21st of September and the 4th of January.

Topic Headings:

  • Democratic Allegiance and Critical Considerations
  • Inter-group relations and Discrimination
  • Culture, Identity, and Pluralism
  • Gender, Gender Identity, and Sexual Orientation
  • Disability
  • Ageism, Childhood, and Child Participation
  • Poverty and Social Exclusion
  • Struggle against Discrimination: Equality and Justice

Program Director: Kenan Çayır

Program Coordinator: Melisa Soran

Academic Consultant: İpek Gürkaynak

Teacher’s Workshop: Discussing Controversial Issues in an Educational Setting” Certificate Program is supported by: The Open Society Foundation (Açık Toplum Vakfı), the Swedish Consulate, the Dutch Consulate “Matra” Program, The Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Association, and Istanbul Bilgi University.


How to Deal with Discrimination in Education Settings: Lesson Samples and Resources for Educationalists (ASED)                                                                   

(January 2011-May 2012)

  • The outcomes of this project (ASED), which began in November 2011, have been published. This project was completed with the technical support of the Istanbul Bilgi University Television Reporting and Programing Department.
  • Objectives
    • To reach a wider audience via the SECBIR video recordings put together by the Sociology and Education Studies Unit, educators, and academics.
    • To make the ASEP Project’s lessons plans application to different levels and classroom applications.
    • To record 4 ninety-minute videos interviewing involved students and teachers.
    • To prepare a book with the texts and lessons created by the ASEP Project.
    • To prepare an interactive DVD with including all the required materials to apply 4 sample lessons in the classroom.
    • To distribute this book and interactive DVD to schools and NGOs within the country.
      • Funding Organizations: This project was carried out with the support of Global Dialogue, The Open Society Foundation (Acik Toplum Vakfi), and Istanbul Bilgi University.


 Textbook Analysis Project 2011-2012

  • Beginning in November 2011, the “Textbook Analysis Project”, begun by a group of sociology students along with SECBIR experts, aimed to analyze “Life Information” and “Social Information” class textbooks from 1st through 8th grade as well as the 8th grade “Citizenship and Democracy Education” textbook using a qualitative measure.  The results of this analysis to be shared by means of regular meetings and workshops throughout the 2011-2012 school year.  The project did not only analyze MEB (Ministry of National Education) publications but also the publications of private publishing houses in use across Turkey.

Project Outcome Publications:

  1. SECBIR Textbook Analysis Project (2011 – 2012) “Gender in Textbooks: Progress, Problems, and Suggestions”
  2. SECBIR Textbook Analysis Project (2011 – 2012) “Militarism in Textbooks”
  • Objectives:
    • To establish the progress and problems regarding the handling of human rights, gender, militarism, and similar topics in textbooks
    • To analyze the visual use of textbooks
    • To present suggestions on how to improve these textbooks
  • Method:
    • The first analysis was completed using the “Qualitative Survey Criteria” as laid out in the Historical Foundation’s “Human Rights in Textbooks Project I and II”.
    • Additional Criteria” were created to do a 2nd survey of the textbooks regarding “visuals”, “role models”, “construction of ‘us’”, and “those [groups] that are not included in the texts”.
    • Workshops and meetings took place regarding specific units to analyze the textbook discourse.


 Prejudice, Stereotypes, and Discrimination: Sociological and Educational Perspectives I (ASEP)

  • The ASEP (Prejudice, Stereotypes, and Discrimination: Sociology and Educational Perspectives) Project that began in January 2011 has been completed.  You may find the project texts and materials under the below “Project Texts” heading.
  • Objectives:
    • Project Rationale
      • Among the discussions surrounding discrimination in Turkey, social hierarchies between different groups and the visibility of different identities in the public realm are key topics. With regards to these topics, Turkish social science and educational literature are severely lacking as are the related education materials for teachers and students.
      • Project Objectives
        • Training a specialised group of teachers in issues related to prejudices, stereotypes, and discrimination
        • Producing educational materials related to the current situation in Turkey concerning prejudices, stereotypes and discrimination
        • Producing examples of teacher training lessons related to prejudices, stereotypes and discrimination
  • Funding Organizations
    • This project was carried out with the support of Global Dialogue, The Open Society Foundation and Istanbul Bilgi University.
  • Project Texts:
    • Part One: Understanding Prejudice and Discrimination
    • Part Two: Modernity, Otherness, and Discrimination
    • Part Three: Discrimination and Equality in Legal Terms
    • Part Four: Different Dimensions of Discrimination
    • Part Five: Combating Discrimination and Reducing Prejudice


Discussing Social Issues in an Educational Setting: Teachers and Academics joint Study and Production Project (together with the Terakki Foundation)

  • The project taking place between September 2012 and May 2013 with the support of the Terakki Foundation aimed to bring together different the teachers of differing branches and levels during the course of the academic year to discuss and create example activities relating to discrimination.
  • Funding Organizations:
    • This project was carried out with the support of the Terrakki Foundation and the Terakki Foundation Schools (TERAKKI VAKFI and the TERAKKI VAKFI OKULLARI)
  • Objectives:
    • To discuss and debate social issues at seminars with teachers and academics from different disciplines.
    • For said teachers to develop lesson modules relevant to these issues that could affect educational methods.
    • To prepare a pamphlet including these modules.
    • To share these modules on different platforms with the educators of Turkey.
    • To report the qualitative results of this project’s research.