Since 2012, compulsory education in Turkey has lasted 12 years and is divided into three levels (pre-school, primary and secondary). 

  • Pre-school education: this is the education of children between the ages of 3 and 5, who have not yet reached the age of compulsory primary education, on a voluntary basis.
  • Primary education: this covers the education of children aged 6 to 10 years. Primary education is compulsory for all children. It is free of charge at state schools and lasts four years (1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th years).
  • Lower secondary education: this covers the education of children aged 10 to 14 years. Lower secondary education is compulsory for all children. It is free of charge at state schools and lasts four years (5th, 6th, 7th and 8th years). Towards the end of lower secondary school, pupils receive information about general, vocational and technical upper secondary level schools and the types of occupations for which they are prepared.
  • Upper secondary education: includes general or vocational and/or technical secondary schools offering four-year courses for 14–17-year-olds (9th, 10th, 11th and 12th years). Upper secondary education is compulsory for all children and free in state schools.
  • Higher education: after leaving school, students can enrol in higher education which is compatible with the Bologna three-cycle system. 

Swiss schools

There are no Swiss schools in Turkey. 

International schools

In Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir there are English, French, German and Italian schools at different levels. Information can be found on the schools' websites. 


International students who wish to study in Turkey must have completed their secondary education at an upper secondary level school or similar institution equivalent to a Turkish upper secondary level school. Students must apply directly to the university of their choice, which then makes the selection.

International students wishing to pursue undergraduate or postgraduate studies in Turkey must also apply directly to the universities, which set their own admission requirements. Various scholarships are also available for some international students.

There are 207 universities in Turkey, including 123 state universities. Foreign students can study at a university if they have the appropriate entrance qualification and pass the Yabanci Ögrenciler Sinavi (YÖS) language and academic entrance examination for foreigners. The examination must be successfully passed one year before the planned start of studies. The competent authority is the Ögrenci Secme ve Yerlestrime Merkezi (ÖSYM). See also the website of the Millî Eğitim Bakanlığı (Ministry of National Education).  


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