The Turkish government has invested substantially in education for its people in order to end illiteracy. When the Republic of Turkey was first formed, the illiteracy rate was about 90%. Today, it is less than 20%.

It is mandatory for children between the ages of 6 and 14 to attend school. This includes five years in primary school and three years in middle school. After middle school, students can choose to attend high school or a lycee, which usually lasts for three to four years. High schools may be vocational or general. All schooling before university is free and co-educational.

In 1993, 88% of Turkish boys and 71% of Turkish girls attended school. This disparity suggests that some Turkish families still prefer to educate their sons at school and their daughters at home. Uniforms are worn by all students up to high school. Although religious education was outlawed in the republic at one time, it has been allowed back into primary schools. In many places, informal classes have been established to teach children religion.
 Did you know?
The university in Istanbul was founded in 1453 by Mehmet the Conqueror.

The quality of education is often poorer in rural areas since many teachers prefer to work in towns and large cities. Attendance at school is also lower in villages and other rural areas, since many families need their children to help out with farm chores. Some local school systems try to increase attendance by offering a flexible system in which school holidays are timed to suit the seasonal cycle of farming.

Students who want to attend university or an institute of higher education must pass an exam. There are more than 20 universities in Turkey and nearly 800 other schools of higher education. Some universities are private. Some of the more famous universities include Istanbul University, Ankara University, the Middle East Technical University, the Hacettepe University, Ege University, Bosphorus University and the Black Sea Technical University.