Cape Town - Teaching children humanity, along with maths, science and technology, is the vision of the newest independent school to officially be opened in Cape Town.
The Turkish Maarif Foundation (TMF), together with the Türkiye embassy and representatives of the Western Cape government, officially opened the International Maarif School in Claremont.
It is the second school the TMF has opened in South Africa, following the opening of one in Johannesburg in 2021.
The TMF is a public, non-profit entity created in 2016 by an act of the parliament of Türkiye to use Turkish public funds to establish and maintain institutions of learning from preschool to tertiary level in foreign countries.
Turkish ambassador to South Africa, Aysegul Kandas, said TMF opened more than 400 schools in 52 countries – 30 of which are in Africa.
“Our mission is to provide such good quality education at this school, that the number of students will increase every year, just like they have been increasing in Johannesburg. It's Cambridge standard international education, with elective Turkish classes.
“I would like to express my gratitude to the South African national government and the Western Cape government.
“In our common humanistic approach to education and anything we do, we are here to be present, with a huge embassy and people, working to really bring the people of Türkiye and South Africa together,” said Kandas.
Education specialist for special projects at the Western Cape Education Department, Kubeshini Govender, said they looked forward to the journey with TMF, and the department would support them.
“The role of independent schools in South Africa is increasingly becoming critical. Our public education system, while continuing to improve and provide physical buildings and schools for children, is also being challenged in terms of the demand for education.”
TMF director in South Africa, Deniz Dogan, said they hoped to open another school in Johannesburg in March.
TMF president, Professor Birol Akgun, said the TMF schools provided children with the necessary tools to be good human beings.
“Our motto has always been, since day one, to raise good children, all over the world that understands humanity.
“This is the only way to improve the peace, stability and coexistence all over the world.
“Of course, we are teaching science, maths, technology, language, everything. But what is unique to us, is creating sensitivity among their generation to the physical and social environment.”
Bilal Erdogan, son of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said the focus of building education relations with South Africa was to provide for holistic education outcomes.
He said Türkiye supported South Africa in its quest for peace in Palestine, which was reflected in its education partnership.
“The collaboration that has to take place between education institutions in South Africa and Türkiye is very important. We have very good high schools and universities, and South Africa has many good education institutions. Let us focus on total quality – the overall education system.”