In 1981, in accordance with the new Higher Education Law (No. 2547), the administration of higher education in Turkey was comprehensively restructured. The system thereby became centralized, with all higher education institutions tied to the Council of Higher Education (CoHE). After this restructuring, all institutions of higher education were designed as universities. Expansion of higher education throughout the country was achieved, application to higher education was centralized, and a central university exam and placement were introduced. In addition to public universities, the first nonprofit foundation university in Turkey started to provide education for students in 1986.
Since 2012, compulsory education in Turkey lasts 12 years and is divided in three stages (primary education, elemantary education and secondary education).
Pre-primary School Education: It involves the education of children in the age group of 3 to 5 who have not reached the age of compulsory primary education, on an optional basis.
Primary Education: It involves the education and training of children in the age group of 6 to 10. Primary education is compulsory for all citizens. It is free at the State schools and lasts four years (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th grades).
Elemantary Education: It involves the education and training of children in the age group of 10 to 14. Elemantary education is compulsory for all citizens. It is free at the State schools and lasts four years (5th, 6th, 7nd, 8th grades). Towards the end of the elemantary school, pupils are given information about both general, vocational and technical high schools and the kinds of employment they prepare for.
Secondary Education: It comprises high schools of a general or vocational and/or technical character giving four-year courses aiming children at the age of 14 to 17 (9th, 10th, 11th, 12th grades). Secondary education is compulsory for all citizens and is free at the State schools.
Higher Education: After graduating from high school, students can enroll in higher education, which is compatible with the Bologna three-cycle system.