(Haberturk Newspaper, 24 January 2011)
A teacher in Ankara who explained Darwin in response to a
student's question has received a 'warning'. The Ministry of
Education announced that Darwin and the 'Theory of Evolution'
are not in the curriculum and issued the warning because the
teacher had 'confused the students.'
Süleyman Biçer, a teacher at Mamak Trade Association
elementary school, was reprimanded after a 5th grade student
asked him 'did people come from monkeys?'. Biçer didn't want
to leave the student's question unanswered so he explained that
humans and other living things have experienced changes. That
evening the student related the incident to his parents, prompting
his mother to file a complaint with the district education authority.
The mother claimed that 'the teacher told the students that
humans came from monkeys and he read the Bible in class.'
The Mamak district education authority then started an investiga-
tion and took statements from nine of Biçer's 43 students. Three
students told investigators that Biçer had talked about Darwin.
In its report, the authority stated that Darwin and the Theory of
Evolution are not in the 5th grade curriculum, declaring that 'the
subject of Darwin is studied in the 8th grade under the heading
of Adaptation and Evolution and even there there is no mention
of Darwin's claim that humans came from monkeys. On page 48
of the guide for 8th grade teachers there is a stipulation that
there will be no discussion of various views about evolution.
Since teacher Süleyman Biçer explained Darwin and Evolution
to 5th graders he confused them and committed a crime.'
However, because there is no penalty in laws related to teachers
who teach something not in the curriculum, Biçer was initially
given a 'condemnation' but the penalty was downgraded to a
warning in view of Biçer's spotless record as a teacher.