Vehbi Koç Foundation’s ‘Model School’ of the 21st Century
Vehbi Koç Foundation, operating in the fields of “Education, Culture and Healthcare” for the development of the country and the advancement of the society since its establishment, launched the latest and most important project of its 50th anniversary. Vehbi Koç Foundation, drawing inspiration from its founder Vehbi Koç and acting with the motto “The Onus is on Us”, continues to carry out activities in the field of “education,” which is regarded as the “first among equals”. As part of these initiatives, the model school designed to meet the requirements of the 21st century and to serve the students and educators was built and transferred to the Ministry of National Education. The opening ceremony of Beykoz Koç Middle School took place on December 17, 2019 with Ziya Selçuk, Minister of National Education, İpek Kıraç, Koç Holding Board Member, Levent Çakıroğlu, Koç Holding CEO, Erdal Yıldırım, Vehbi Koç Foundation General Manager, Hasan Hüseyin Can, Deputy Governor of İstanbul, Ahmet Katırcı, Beykoz District Governor, Murat Aydın, Beykoz Mayor, Levent Yazıcı, Istanbul Provincial Director of Education, Kazım Bozbay, Beykoz District Director of Education, along with school administrators, teachers, parents and students in attendance.
‘A wonderful dream came to life in this school’
Minister of National Education Professor Ziya Selçuk gave the opening address, “Today marks a very special day in the history of education. A wonderful dream came to life in this school. And Vehbi Koç Foundation turned this dream into a gift for the country. This is another concrete example of what the late Vehbi Koç thought about and how he wanted to contribute to this country. These services have a very high potential of creating lasting value. And we are aware that such potential heralds good news for Turkey. I believe that you noticed the smiling faces of the children. We need those smiles more. And we need to instill arts, sports, science and ethics in these smiling faces to go forward.” Minister of National Education Professor Ziya Selçuk continued: “We need to be sensitive about meeting what life requires, what today's children need and what parents expect. This is why we intend to spread such initiatives wider, to increase the number of examples like this school and to foster the development of school architecture in Turkey. This is why we strive to increase the number of initiatives that will lead to more happiness, improve children's motivation to study and train, and serve to make our teachers happy."
The most exciting project
Vehbi Koç Foundation General Manager Erdal Yıldırım began his address at the ceremony by saying, “I am delighted to be here with you on the occasion of the latest and definitely the most exciting project that we completed in the 50th anniversary of our foundation. Today marks the opening of our school, which we built with the “build, transfer, support” approach based on our agreement with the Governorship of Istanbul and transferred to the Ministry of Education. As a country with a young population, we need continual education to prosper and develop. At Vehbi Koç Foundation, we have built 17 elementary and middle schools since 1999 to support the eight-year mandatory education. Even after transferring them to the Ministry of National Education, we continue to support the teachers and students in all our schools and strive to ensure that the schools are maintained in good physical conditions.” Erdal Yıldırım emphasized that Beykoz Koç Middle School was conceived to serve as a model school that will meet the requirements of the 21st century, “In terms of its architectural specifications, the model we propose provides the students and the teachers with opportunities to learn by exploring, experimenting, sharing and experiencing. Arts, sports and nature are integral parts of this model. The school also offers an environment conducive to lifelong learning and welcoming teachers, students, parents and the residents of surrounding neighborhoods and the public into the process of doing and experiencing. The school environment promotes development of 21st century skills such as teamwork, problem solving, creative and critical thinking, social emotional development, and taking responsibility. Furthermore, building a school culture that focuses on the students by working together with parents, the school administration and teachers is also encouraged. Accordingly, we hosted 14 workshops for the current school’s teachers since 2014 with the permission of the District Education Directorate communication on a number of topics including teamwork, education in the museum, intellectual games, communication with adolescents, first aid, project-based learning, emergency and disaster management, and adaptation to the model school. We also organized seminars for parents in cooperation with the Parent-Teacher Association. We hope that this model school, which we present to our country, will set an example for donors who wish to build schools to contribute with both their physical means and also by strengthening the school culture.”