Education in Turkey is governed by a national system which was established in accordance with Atatürk’s reforms after the foundation of the Republic in 1923. It is a state-supervised system designed to produce a skilful professional class for the social and economic institutes of the nation. The adult literacy rate in 2011 was 94.1%. As of 2012, a total of 27,197 preschools, 29,169 elementary schools, 16,987 junior schools and 10,418 high schools (including private funded) are regulated by the Ministry of National Education.
The Ministry of National Education is responsible for pre-tertiary education. New legislation introduced in March 2012 prolonged compulsory education to twelve years, divided in four years of primary school, four years of middle school and four years of high school. Among Turkish people in the 25-34-year bracket, 42% have attained at least upper secondary education, compared with an OECD average of 82%. Basic education in Turkey is considered to lag behind other OECD countries, with significant differences between high and low performers. Turkey is ranked 32nd out of 34 in the OECD’s PISA study. Access to high-quality school heavily depends on the performance in the secondary school entrance exams, to the point that some students begin taking private tutoring classes when they’re 10 years old.
By 2011, there were 166 universities in Turkey. Entry in the higher education system is regulated by the Student Selection Examination (ÖSS). In 2008, the quota of admitted students was 600,000, compared to 1,700,000 who took the ÖSS exam in 2007. Except for the Open Education Faculty (Turkish: Açikögretim Fakültesi) at Anadolu University, entrance is regulated by the national ÖSS examination, after which high school graduates are assigned to universities according to their performance. According to the 2012–2013 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the top university in Turkey is Middle East Technical University (in the 201-225 rank range), followed by Bilkent University and Koç University (both in the 226-250 range), Istanbul Technical University and Bogaziçi University (in the 276-300 bracket)