Pakrat Estukyan

Մենք ու մերոնք - Biz ve bizimkiler

Pride of Getronagan

There are 16 Armenian schools in Turkey; each of them is over a century old and represents an important tradition. However, Getronagan has a special place among them. As the successor of Sanasaryan School in Erzurum, it is known as the school which raised many intellectuals, artists, writers and scientists. 

Getrongan still tries to maintain this tradition. There is an old saying in Turkish, which can be translated as “the tree bearing fruit gets stoned.” In parallel with this saying, some circles made fiddling with this school their business. Recently, an arch-priest accused Getronagan of raising atheists, while he was talking about an irrelevant issue. There is no doubt that I wouldn't be bothered at all, if this claim is proved to be right. However, this is not the case and I am speaking from experience. And one of the administrators of the school spoke ill of the school, because there hasn't been any student who got into medical school in recent years. This mentality, which measures the success of a school by the success in university entrance exams, assesses 4 years of education by looking at the universities and departments which its students got into.

There may be some hidden agendas concerning the teaching stuff, which is considered as the driving force of the success. In the last years, foundation boards have been firing principals and teachers for replacing them with their friends, relatives and acquaintances.

I am not trying to deny the injustices and mistakes that were caused by principals and teachers themselves in the past. In the end, some troubles may occur wherever human beings are involved and Getronagan is not immune to such troubles. However, what I am emphasizing is this: as a general matter, Getronagan is an institution which is sensitive about education and science, as well as about social issues.

And that is exactly why Getronagan students couldn't keep silent, while more than 150 high schools with deep-rooted history are expressing their demand of democratic education. Firstly, Istanbul High School, which is one of the best schools in Turkey, protested their principal who was assigned by the ministry. During the graduation ceremony, the students turned their back, while the principal was speaking. After a short while, other schools followed. However, among 150 schools, only the Getronagan Foundation felt disturbed by the attitude of its students and released a declaration against it.

It is stated that “Only the foundation board and the school principal with the permission of the board is authorized to speak on behalf of Getronagan.” Obviously, this statement disregards the students, teachers, parents and graduates of the school. If the students had tried to conclude an agreement with an institution like Istanbul Water and Sewerage Administration or something, the foundation would have been right to react like that. However, they just declared their will on behalf of “Students of Getronagan High School”. For doing such a thing, they don't have to take a permission from anybody, expect from the classmates.

Apparently, the students have comprehended the special place of Getronagan, but the administrators are not capable of it yet. Otherwise, they would be proud of their students, instead of releasing a contrary-declaration.