ERG, full name EĞİTİM REFORMU GİRİŞİMİ (EDUCATION REFORM INITIATIVE), organization which aims to develop educational policies that underpin the social and economic development of Turkey. Established at Sabancı University in 2003 with the goal of promoting “a quality education for all”, the organization brings together different stakeholders, supporting the development of participative processes for generating ideas and engaging in studies on research, advocacy and education. The Vehbi Koç Foundation (VKV) provides regular support to the ERG, which is also sponsored by civil society organizations such as the Aydın Doğan Foundation, the Enka Foundation, the Elginkan Foundation and the Borusan Kocabıyık Foundation, companies such as Yapı Merkezi and Enerji-Su, as well as Sabancı, Istanbul Kültür and Istanbul Bilgi Universities.
The Good Practices in Education Conference, which ERG has organized every year since 2004, gathers together educational stakeholders, offering a platform of communication and cooperation to expand the reach of good practices. The “Education Monitoring Report”, published annually since 2007, gives a comprehensive evaluation of the previous year’s developments. From 2013 to 2015, ERG ran a project titled “Towards Democratic Schools: Participation Practices for Empowering Students and Schools”, which was run in cooperation with Istanbul Bilgi University Child Studies Unit. The project set out to strengthen the culture of democracy in Turkey’s schools, aiming to facilitate the participation of those with a stake in education, especially children, in educational procedures and decision-making mechanisms.
In 2012, ERG began holding Educational Policy Seminars, each focusing on a different theme, with the aim of diversifying the platforms on which education policies were discussed in Turkey. As part of the project “Vocational Education: A Crucial Matter for the Nation”, started in 2006 in partnership with the Ministry of Education (ME), Koç Holding and the VKV, a cooperation agreement on improving the quality of vocational education in Turkey was signed in 2010 by Koç Holding and ERG. This led to the publication of four reports in 2012, containing research findings and policy recommendations resulting from the Collaborating for Quality in Vocational Education project run by ERG as part of the initiative; these included “Vocational and Technical Education Strategy Document” and “What Works in Vocational Education and Why? Policy Recommendations for School-Business Collaborations”.
Another of ERG’s important studies is the Rights in Education project, which first ran in 2007-09 and then again in 2009-10. “The Power of Thinking: Teaching Training Support Project for a Youth that Questions and Queries” was organized by ERG in collaboration with ME and Akbank; as part of the project, between January 2009 and May 2010, 4,250 teachers in eight provinces were trained in skills for teaching and learning critical thinking.
The Teachers Network Project, which began as a result of the Teachers Research carried out by ERG in cooperation with VKV and ATÖLYE Labs, is supported by six leading foundations, including AÇEV, Enka Foundation, Sabancı Foundation and VKV. Starting in 2016, the project aimed to help raise the standards of education in Turkey and increase student success by collaborating with teachers to create an environment of continual interaction conducive to development and transformation.
ERG ranked among the top 50 “Top Education Policy Think Tanks” in the Global Go To Think Tank Index complied by the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program of the University of Pennsylvania in 2013, and among the top 45 in 2014.