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Equality of Educational Opportunity, Secularism, and The Aladağ Dormitory Fire.

Pelin Taskin, Nihan Demirkasimoglu


This paper focuses on the relationship between principles of equal educational opportunity and secularism, and religionization in the Turkish education system. This new development we argue has brought serious negative consequences for parents and students without the means to choose alternatives.  We discuss these issues in the hard light of the Aladağ dormitory case, where a terrible fire in a private student dormitory, resulting in the death of many students and an educator. The fire broke out in Adana province, in southern Turkey at Aladağlar dorm on November 29, 2016.  Twelve people lost their lives, including 10 female students, a 6-year-old daughter of the dormitory official, and an instructor. Also, some students were injured. The incident occurred due to negligence where the upper floor and attic of this dormitory building, which operates in violation of the regulations of private student dormitories, was completely wooden, the fire ladder was locked, the floors are covered with carpets, and there was no guard. The authors argue that neoliberal privatization of schools takes on a special character when private religious authority, is given responsibility for the educational safety and success of public school children. Thus religious institutions are included with all the commercial interests which had public responsibility for education turned over to them. 

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