Mahalle Schools

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Provincial schools in the Ottoman Empire.

Most of the public schools in the Ottoman Empire were built and funded by local governments. These governments often organized councils to build the schools, hoping that they would stimulate economic development. Most mahalle schools offered elementary-level education, although curricula varied. With the 1869 Regulation for Public Instruction, the central government organized provincial councils to distribute state funds and encourage standardization of curricula and examinations at the local schools.

The number of students in mahalle schools rose from 242,017 boys and 126,454 girls in 1867 to 640,721 boys and 253,349 girls in 1895, roughly one-third of all children of elementary school age. There were only 35,731 students in the Ruşdiye schools (funded by the central government), and nearly 400,000 in foreign and Millet System elementary schools.

see also millet system; ottoman empire; ruŞdiye schools.


Shaw, Stanford J., and Shaw, Ezel Kural. History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey. Vol. 2: Reform, Revolution, and Republic, 18081975. Cambridge, U.K., and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1977.

elizabeth thompson