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Seventeen (17) Schools Project

17 Schools Project, elementary-school building program that was launched as the Vehbi Koç Foundation 13 Schools project in 1998. The schools, in various regions of Turkey, were later transferred to the Ministry of National Education through the “Build, Transfer, Maintain” model. Between 2006 and 2008, four more schools were added to the project, which was initiated to support eight years of core education and to mark the Republic of Turkey's 75th anniversary.

Designed to a uniform model by master architect Yıldırım Sağlıkova, every school was built to take about 500 students within 4,800 square meters of enclosed space containing 16 classrooms, a library, science-computer labs, and a 300-capacity multi-purpose hall.

Each school’s maintenance costs and other similar requirements are covered by a Koç Holding company in their area. Until the end of 2014, school administrators and teachers also received support from the Koç School to raise teaching standards and the overall quality of education. This included regular seminars and development programs under the title of “Summer Seminars Hand in Hand with the 17 Schools”.

Since 2000, the top three graduates from each school have been granted a scholarship, with a total of 51 students receiving support. From 2000 to 2016, the number of scholarships awarded to the graduates of these schools was 2,352.

A magazine, Gelişim İçin El Ele (Hand in Hand for Development), was published as part of the project. Every year, one school coordinates the publication from material produced by pupils at schools involved in the project. Enough copies are printed so that every student in the 17 Schools project can receive a copy, promoting the project principle of supporting education through sharing.

Elementary and Middle Schools currently included in the project are: Ankara (Sincan Koç Elementary School), Bolu Koç Elementary and Middle School, Bursa (İnegöl Vehbi Koç Elementary School, Nilüfer Koç Middle School, Orhangazi Koç Elementary School and Middle School, Yenişehir Koç Middle School), Diyarbakır (Bağlar Vehbi Koç Elementary School, Kayapınar Vehbi Koç Elementary School), Elazığ Koç Elementary School, Eskişehir (İnönü Vehbi Koç Middle School), İstanbul (Beyazıt Ford Otosan Koç Elementary School, Beylikdüzü Koç Middle School), Kocaeli (Gebze Koç Middle School, Ford Otosan Koç Middle School), Şanlıurfa Koç Elementary School and Middle School, Şırnak (Silopi Koç Elementary School and Middle School), Van Koç Elementary School and Middle School.

VKV President Erdal Yıldırım: the excitement on opening day...

... I recall especially the children’s excitement, the town people’s excitement at the opening ceremonies of the 13 schools… There were also misunderstandings. For example, we were building a school in one of Orhangazi’s relatively low-income neighbourhoods. “Why is Koç building a school here?”, people were asking. In fact, just a few days before the school’s opening, enrolment levels were still low. It turned out that families were thinking, “This must be a private school, we can’t afford it”. Of course, they were overjoyed to learn otherwise. It was very moving and very gratifying to witness all this…

Suna Dokur (ed.), The Forty Year Book, Vehbi Koç Vakfı Yayınları, Istanbul, 2009, p. 77
Abadan Unat, Nermin

Political scientist who received the Vehbi Koç Award for education in 2012.