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.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today