- Written by Dr. Volker Schult
Istanbul Lisesi was established in 1884 and is one of the oldest and most traditional schools in Turkey. As a state school, Istanbul Lisesi admits students through the central state school examination. Admission to Istanbul Lisesi is very competitive with only one hundred and eighty students admitted from a pool of about three hundred thousand applicants. With a strong boarding population, Istanbul Lisesi draws students from all over Turkey. Without exaggeration you may say that Istanbul Lisesi belongs to the elite among public Turkish high schools. As a rule, students from Istanbul Lisesi pass the Turkish university entrance examination (YGS/LYS) also with very good results so that they will be admitted to high-ranking Turkish universities.
Istanbul Lisesi continues to get support of the German government and has the active support of alumni and parents, many of whom are prominent members of the community. Since Istanbul Lisesi offers a free education, it addresses as well those students who cannot afford private education.
Istanbul Lisesi is the only member school abroad of the German network mint-ec (Verein mathematisch-naturwissenschaftlicher Excellence-Center an Schulen e.V.), which links up schools excelling in maths and the sciences. A limited number of our students have the opportunity to take part in camps, which are thematically centred around topical scientific issues.
Sport teachers organize intramural basketball and soccer tournaments between classes during spring semester. The school has an active jazz band and dance team, choir and orchestra, basketball, volleyball, soccer, handball, table tennis, track and field, and chess teams. All these groups take very successful results in city- and nation-wide tournaments and contests.
The German department
During World War I the first German teachers started teaching at Istanbul Lisesi. Since 1958 a German Department with an increasing number of German teachers has been established again. Today the German Department consists of 34 German teachers. In Istanbul Lisesi classes are taught in both German and Turkish. Mathematics, geometry, chemistry, physics, biology and German are instructed in German by German teachers while history, geography, citizenship, military sciences, religion, philosophy, literature, physical education, art and music are taught in Turkish. English is also taught by German teachers while the language of instruction is English.
In the last three school years ( the so-called "Lise"-years) the curricula of the subjects taught by German teachers, meet the demands of German high schools, so that in those subjects students get to a level that corresponds to the one of German high schools.
Consequently, the students attain the ability to study successfully at international universities. That is also the reason why the German "Reifeprüfung" Exam ("Abitur") was introduced at Istanbul Lisesi in 1999. The German Reifeprüfung Exam is a final examination at German high schools, which permits successful students to study at any German university.
Since 2002 students have successfully passed the yearly Reifeprüfung examinations (on the average 120 students per year).
The textbooks, curricula and standards, used at Istanbul Lisesi, are under permanent supervision of the German government and are equivalent to German demands.
Since 1999 Istanbul Lisesi has been a five-year school. All students are required to spend the preparatory class ("Hazirlik") to master the German language, taking twenty hours of instruction in the first year and ten hours in the second year. Science and mathematics courses start in the preparatory class. Biology, physics and chemistry follow from grade nine. English is a compulsory class from prep-class on. The next three years are followed by a senior high school program "Lise" which is equivalent to tenth, eleventh and twelve grades.
After five years, by successfully passing the German Reifeprüfung Exam, students show that they can deal with challenging texts in the languages and have reached a level in the sciences which enables them to successfully continue their studies at the best Turkish and German universities. In addition, our students prepare for the Turkish university entrance exam (LGS/LYS), in which they are required to solve a large number of intricate multiple choice problems in a very short time. Thus it tests candidates' ability to concentrate under pressure, to memorize, to make quick and accurate decisions, to apply their minds flexibly and effectively, and - as the Maths and the Sciences parts are cornerstones of the exam - to conduct difficult calculations in a minimum of time. The Turkish university entrance exam must be regarded as a highly sophisticated test of students' intelligence and resilience.
All of the students from Istanbul Lisesi plan to pursue their studies at a four-year university. The percentages of our students enrolling at Turkish universities are about 95%, which is far above average. It is to be noted that one and a half million students take this university entrance exam every year.
Dr. Volker Schult