Issue 33 – Education in the Clamp of Global Capitalism: Where are we at Understanding and Struggle?

Editors: Yasemin Özgün – Ecehan Balta

Education in Capitalist Societies: A General View on Theory and Reality
L. Işıl Ünal

Modern educational institutions, which nowadays are being restructured according to the requirements of global capitalism, were historically first established in order to satisfy the social needs that emerged during the period of industrialization and modernization. The commodification/capitalization of knowledge and education has accelerated with global capitalism, and the rules and principles governing the market are now starting to dominate in all social processes pertaining to knowledge and education.

Within the scope of global capitalism, reforms in the educational system include a reduction of public funding allocated to education, privatization, and an increase in the prevalence of private educational institutions. Such reforms also involve the rationalization of the transition to higher education, the strengthening of the relationship between schools and the market, the rapid transfer of technological innovations to the educational system, and a restructuring of both the educational system and administration.
Such reforms have varying impacts on students and schools. In conjunction with the process of urbanization accelerated by global capitalism, different social and cultural groups tend to congregate in different parts of cities, and are increasingly isolated and estranged from one another. These groups differ from each other with respect to their access to education, as well as the quality of the education that is available to them. The meanings and values attributed to education by these groups are changing, while their relationships with knowledge and education are also being reshaped and redefined. The most fundamental mechanisms of social segregation operate within the school system itself, and are most often associated with differences in social class and ethnicity. In this respect, analyzing the class and cultural identities of students becomes important for understanding the educational inequalities, the dropout rates and the poor educational performances observed in schools.

Accepting and demonstrating the social reality that education has a contradictory and conflicting character provides a starting point for critical analysis. “Relative autonomy” in schools; in other words, the concept that schools are not simply instruments of “socialization,” but are at the same time an area of contradiction and conflict that enables the empowering/strengthening and the transformation of the components of education, forms the basis of an educational alternative that is both egalitarian and emancipatory.
Keywords: Capitalist education, commodification of knowledge and education, emancipatory education.

Education, Knowledge Economy and Employment
Derya Keskin Demirer

Educational practices and perceptions have changed dramatically parallel to the economic transformations in the last few decades. This paper attempts to analyze the reflections of these changes on both education and employment through various concepts and facts. The study claims that current intersections between education and economy give way to detrimental consequences for the individual and the society. In this context, the concepts that have become popular in the realms of both education and economy, from human capital to the individual entrepreneur, from knowledge society to knowledge economy, from life-long learning to flexibility, are discussed from a critical perspective and through some everyday facts that seem to be recklessly accustomed by all sides of education.
Keywords: Education, knowledge society, knowledge economy, employment, lifelong learning, human capital, flexibility.

An Analysis Relating the Changes in Teachers’ Work in the Context of Labour Process Theory
Halil Buyruk

This paper aims to analyse education on the basis of the concepts of the labour process theory and thereby tries to develop a theoretical framework for understanding the transformations in teachers’ labour. For this aim, first labour process theory is mentioned generally, then the following studies relating to labour process of teaching are discussed. In this context, an approach has been tried to be developed why the education, on the axis of teachers work, should be analyzed as a labour process. Finally, based on the conceptualization of labor process of teaching, the components of this process have been evaluated in the light of critical discussions about it. Due to the subject being comprehensive and multi-dimensional, in this article, the important main lines in the analysis of the labour process of teaching are put forward with a political economy approach and in this context an introduction to the debates on the issue has been made.
Keywords: Labour process theory, teacher’s work, capitalism.

Education in Mother Tongue in the Context of Language and Education Policies of Turkey
Delal Yatçı

In the Republic of Turkey, the framework of national identity based on Turkish ethnic identity along with Turkish language, culture, and ideals makes it impossible for non-Turkish people to express themselves with their own languages and cultures. Turkey tries to solve this problem by including non-Turkish people into this framework, instead of extending or removing it. Various forms of assimilation are used for this purpose; the most consistent methods up to now being language and education policies, particularly in relation to Kurds. Turkey’s use of language and especially education policies have ignored Kurdish language and culture and have practiced policies aimed to wipe out Kurdish identity both in the public and private spheres. The existence of legal arrangements which prohibiting the use of Kurdish as a native language in the education system is the most common manifestation of these policies which causes children whose mother tongue is not Turkish to face a myriad of inequalities. In this respect, educational institutions in Turkey create disadvantages for Kurdish students who do not speak Turkish. The
lack of academic success, with the lack of self-esteem, rejection of his/her language and culture, and the feeling of embarassment attached to this, and the desire to be “other” are some of the conflicts that go along with Kurdish identity.
Keywords: Mother tongue, asimilation, education.

The “Family Education Programme” (Fep) in the Context of Woman and Development Relation: The Critical Appraisal
Demet Özmen Yılmaz

It can be point out that “woman”, “gender” and “family” issues are increasingly put in the centre of the development discussions. While one of the most remarkable examples is World Bank’s Development Report (2012), FEP which is prepared by The Ministry of Family and Social Policy, must be considered as another example. In this paper, FEP which consists of five sub divisions is addressed in the context of woman and development discussions focusing especially on the economy division of this programme. It is argued that FEP is a neoliberal application of mainstream Woman in Development Approach (WID). It is stated that the main characteristic of the programme is to constitute the family in accordance with the necessities of neoliberal capitalist development. Besides that, the family market oriented approach, which is dominant in training books of programme, reproduces unequal division of domestic labour and given gender roles suggesting that women should be deeply integrated to the market in current unequal conditions in household as well as in market. Thus it is showed that FEP makes women overburdened inside and outside of household, and subjugates women to more oppressions of patriarchal capitalist system.
Keywords: Women, development, family, family education.

4+4+4 Progressive Education Model and the Restructuring of Teachers’ Labor as Human Capital: Capitalism’s Dynamism Based on Creation of Difference
Gizem Şimşek

Education system in Turkey has been going through a structural transformation depending on the stage that capitalism has achieved in the country. The reason for this transformation is related to the change in the realm of production led by the dynamic structure of capitalism which is based on creation of difference (surplus value) and the effects of this change on social area. As an outcome of this impact, the transformation process in the education system aims at the provision of skilled labor force that is conceptualized as human capital, in other words the human type required by the age of information. One of the legal arrangements passed to this end is the Law No. 222 that put into effect the 4+4+4 Progressive Education Model. This law has a special importance in understanding the change in the education system. In the discussions on this law, while mainly the situation of future skilled labor forces that are the students hasbeen pointed out, how the teachers, as the builders of the education system, will be affected generally remains unnoticed. However, the restructuring of the education system for the training of human capital assigns the teachers a dual role in being human capital itself and the builders of human capital. On this ground, this work studies the transformation of teacher’s labor as human capital and gives insight on how teachers will be affected by this transformation in the coming periods.
Keywords: Education, 4+4+4 Progressive Education Model in Turkey, human capital, restructuring of education system, skilled labor force.

The New Partnership in Higher Education: Sem & İŞKUR
Özgün Biçer

In Turkey education in general, particularly higher education has been transforming upon the demands of capital. The universities have been structured in order to produce both the technological equipment necessary for reproducing the system and the qualified man power that is in command of this very equipment. Especially inconjunction with Bologna Process within the scope of EU harmonisation, construction of this new style university, defined as entrepreneur university has gathered speed. This new understanding has transformed the independent knowledge producing structure of the universities into entrepreneurs presenting the knowledge – in a packed form – that the capitalist system requires to reproduce itself. In recent years Continuing Education Centers (CEC) stand out with the vocational certificates that are attained in a short period of time and draw attention with the resources created for the university. CECs provide individual andcorporate trainings upon the periodic requirements of the labor market and form partnerships with consulting and career companies along with the public institutes in these trainings. In this context, İŞKUR (Turkish Labor Agency) reorganizing within the frame of new employment policies appears to be an important training buyer with the execution of its active employment policies. Areas of cooperation for CEC and İŞKUR have been varying upon the certification programs and vocational trainings becoming the precondition of job placement. In this study, CECs new status have been evaluated and the forms of cooperation with İŞKUR is researched; the impact of certification programs produced as a solution for structural unemployment issue and presented as lifelong education on employment and education is debated.
Keywords: Education, employment policies, continuing education centers, certificate programs, entrepreneur university.

Post-Apartheid South Africa: Wrong Model for the Kurdish Question
Tolga Tören

The aim of this study is to deal with the transition period of South Africa in the 1990’s that comes into agenda in the context of the settlement of Kurdish question, with particular focus on the term capital accumulation. The study consists of three chapters. Following the introduction, in the first chapter the racial capitalist development process of South Africa is briefly dealt with. In the second chapter, the roots of the hegemony of capital established in the post apartheid period in South Africa is analyzed. Contingency of the racial discrimination in the context of the historicity of capital accumulation, change of the class structure in the country, the collapse of Soviet Union and ideological pressure by capital on the African National Congress (ANC) are the subjects dealt with under the chapter. In the third chapter, the period between 1990 and 1994 witnessing the important developments including the release of Nelson Mandela, preparation of the 1993 constitution, the first democratic elections and Reconstruction and Development Programme is discussed. The paper argues that the “negotiated settlement” realized in the 1990’s in South Africa ended up with the hegemony of capital and this prevent the post apartheid South Africa from being a model in the settlement of Kurdish question.
Keywords: Apartheid, Post-apartheid South Africa, ANC, COSATU, SACP.