Turkish teens know little about Europe

16th September 2005 at 01:00
Turkey's politicians may be eager to join the European Union but their enthusiasm does not appear to be shared by Turkish teenagers in London schools.

They know little about Europe's premier political organisation and most can locate only one or two countries on a map of Europe, the ECER conference was told.

Fifteen-year-old pupils at two London comprehensives were questioned about Europe by Daniel Faas of Cambridge university, who has been comparing the perspectives of Turkish teenagers in England and Germany.

The German teenagers, who attended two schools in Stuttgart, were far more aware of the EU and almost three-quarters of them could identify six or seven European countries.

Turkish pupils at the more middle-class of the two German schools tended to have positive views on Europe. But those at the second school faced more racism - even from their teachers - and generally saw themselves as Turkish rather than German or European.

Some, however, regarded Turkey as a backward country and did not want it to join the EU.

The London schools had a stronger multicultural agenda but taught children very little about Europe, even though the Government has asked schools to "promote a sense of European identity".

Daniel Faas acknowledged that this was a problem but added that as Turkish pupils at the more racially-divided of the two London schools were also subjected to "large-scale verbal and physical abuse", it was difficult for them to identify with England, let alone Europe.

This is a major challenge, not only for schools but also for politicians, he believes.

"At a time when Europe is entering accession talks with Turkey, politicians and policy-makers are presented with the challenge of constructing and promoting an inclusive, multi-religious model of Europe," he said.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now