Darüşşafaka Schools

Lives changed through education

They were living in towns all across Turkey. Some of them were trying to learn in village schools, others were struggling to learn in hugely populated classrooms with 60 students or more, but all of them had lost one or both parents at a young age. When they started their fourth year in school, they received a letter from “Darüşşafaka,” a school most of them had never heard of. This letter invited them to take a scholastic entrance exam.

If they passed this exam, they could study in classrooms with no more than 24 students, learning English from native speakers and studying science, physics, and chemistry by experimentation in laboratories. They could have computers with internet connections. They could learn to dance, to study drama, and to play any musical instrument they wished to play. With access to gymnasiums, open-air and indoor swimming pools, soccer fields, and courts for tennis, basketball, and volleyball, they could participate in any kind of sport at this school. With more than 50 clubs dedicated to helping students discover and develop their talents, they could paint in real painting workshops, use professional cameras to learn photography, play chess or conduct any kind of scientific research.

This seemingly magical school, where dieticians prepared the meals served in its cafeteria, was, in fact, a real boarding school in Istanbul. And it has existed since 1863. For one and a half centuries, Darüşşafaka Society has been providing underprivileged children with a better education. With the help of your donations, students receive an unrivalled education in a nurturing facility and evolve into modern, self-confident, socially responsible leaders committed to life-long advancement of learning. These children depend on you.

Equality of Opportunity in Education Since 1863.

Darüşşafaka Schools, Turkey’s first schools to have been established by a non-governmental organization, have been providing since 1873 full-scholarship, boarding and high quality education in English from first year of secondary school up to end of high school to children with deceased mothers or fathers.

Darüşşafaka had originally been admitting only those children with deceased fathers until an amendment to its charter on April 14, 2012 extended the same opportunity also to children with deceased mothers. The first such students started their education at Darüşşafaka in the 2012-2013 academic year.

Darüşşafaka moved from its historic building in Fatih to its modern campus in Maslak in 1994. Classes consist of maximum 24 students, with an average of 6 students per teacher and one computer per 6 students. The education system is experiential, and students learn subjects such as science, physics, chemistry and IT in dedicated labs.

Darüşşafaka is one of Turkey’s leading educational institutions. At Darüşşafaka, the language of instruction is Turkish and English. Offering education in English since 1955, it now offers German and French as additional foreign languages from the sixth year onwards.

On the academic front, Darüşşafaka Schools apply the curriculum devised by the Turkish Ministry of National Education, but with the help of the most advanced teaching methodologies, instruments and international programmes Darüşşafaka enables the students to experiment on what they learn in the classroom. In March 2013, Darüşşafaka was authorized to offer the IB Middle Years Programme and became an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School. In the 5th and 6th grades, students participate in the international “Children as Researchers Program” to improve their research skills.

Darüşşafaka currently offers 11 science labs, computer labs, a fully equipped and extensive library, and also a planetarium & observatory. The objective of the academic program is to prepare students for life by developing their inquisitive instincts and research skills, and help them become self confident individuals.

At Darüşşafaka, there are more than 50 clubs, ranging from mechatronics and astronomy to Model United Nations and Destination & Imagination, for students to discover and;develop their talents at this school which maintains that social and cultural development is as vital to a child’s overall development as academic advancement. Students begin receiving instruction in playing a musical instrument and/or in sports, in line with their talents, as soon as they set foot in Darüşşafaka. While the students enjoy on-campus activities on Saturdays, such as sports, music, chess, drama and painting, they spend their Sundays off-campus, by attending specifically organized events like theatre, museum visits, ice skating, fishing or walking along the Bosphorus.

Darüşşafaka Society has been receiving underprivileged children at the age of ten from their families for a better education along the principles of Atatürk to raise them as modern, self-confident, socially responsible leaders. All tuition, clothing, boarding, nutrition and health care costs of students are paid by donations made to Darüşşafaka Society. The Society also continues scholarship support to its students during their university education.

Darüşşafaka has an ongoing investment in its technological infrastructure and raises young people who are abreast with current technologies. The school has one computer for every six students, and students are free to use the computer labs anytime they want. Computer education, where employing methodologies that encourage students to undertake projects, use software, and learn how to accessinformation on the Internet, takes place in every grade. Darüşşafaka continues its investment in IT to ensure its students have access to latest computer technology and a campus-wide wireless network.

Darüşşafaka adopts an application-based learning approach, with classes taking place in classrooms specifically designed for each subject such as science, art, music and handicrafts.

Darüşşafaka Schools in Numbers

Today, at Darüşşafaka, 961 underprivileged and talented children whose mothers and/or fathers have deceased from 67 provinces of the country receive boarding co-education in English with a full scholarship from the 5th grade until high school graduation. Darüşşafaka opened its doors to girls in 1971 after admitting only boys for nearly a hundred years. Today the number of girls is nearly equal to the number of boys. The number of female students is 425 and the number of male students is 536. %49 of the students are from İstanbul whereas %51 of them come from other provinces of Turkey. Students who come from outside of Istanbul spend their weekends on campus. 

University Scholarships

Darüşşafaka Society continues to support young Darüşşafaka graduates during their university education by contributing toward their university education expenses. University scholarships are awarded to graduates thanks to generous donations by philanthropists. "Equality of opportunity in education" continues at the university level.

Some important Darüşşafaka graduates in history 

Mathematician Salih Zeki, leading figure in ultrasonography Prof. Dr. Adnan Sokullu, painter Mahmut Cûda, painter Muhittin Sebati,a cornerstone of Turkish literature Ahmet Rasim, writerVasfiMahir Kocatürk,Turkey’s first child psychiatrist Prof. Dr. Rıdvan Cebiroğlu, mathematician Mehmet İzzet, finance expert Hasan Ferit, writer İsmail Sefa, literary critic Berna Moran, composer AhmedAvni Konuk, Kazım Uz, first urban historian of the Republic of Turkey and an important figure in municipal services Osman Nuri Ergin, actor İhsan Devrim, cartoonist Tekin Aral, director Tolga Aşkıner, director Turgut Yasalar, undersecretary of the Prime Minister and General Secretary of the President Necdet Seçkinöz.

Our Philosophy of Education

  • Every student can make it
  • Continuous motivation for academic achievement
  • Differentiated education
  • Student centered teaching approach and experiential education 
  • Consulting and mentoring programmes

Our principles

  • We are committed to the principles of Atatürk.
  • We respect human beings and our environment.
  • We are innovative and adopt modern advances in all stages of education.
  • We take responsibility and initiative.
  • We ask questions and express our ideas freely.
  • We are democratic, honest, trustworthy and fair.
  • We adhere to and implement ethical values.
  • We are aware of and adapt to rules of social life.
  • We strive for being the best, and we do the best.

The Darüşşafaka Spirit

  • Takes pride in our corporate and historical identity,
  • Believes that we are members of one of Turkey’s most respectable families,
  • Works together in helping, supporting and sharing, 
  • Enjoys and grieves together,
  • Strives for setting an example for a younger brother or sister,
  • Contributes spiritually and financially with a sense of loyalty,
  • Commits itself to Darüşşafaka’s future.

Darüşşafaka Schools Web Site

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