Village Institutes of the Republic

“Mindful Seed Speaking Soil” Village Institutes of the Republic Aksu Village Institute (1940 – 1954)

Based on the 1935 census, 76.7% of the male and 91.8% of the female population was illiterate at the Republic. 31,000 out of 40,000 villages had no schools. The Republic aimed to readjust the balance of civilization tilted in favor of the West and to educate the “new citizen”. Based on the idea of selecting the type of individuals to enlighten the village from the village environment, a campaign of education was set and 21 Village Institutes were established between 1940 and 1954. Children who were gathered from villages, were educated in these schools regarding to “learning by doing” principle and they were sent to villages as teachers. From stonework to weaving, from beekeeping to fishery, from physics to literature, music, painting, theatre and further topics; these teachers gained such knowledge and worked for educating the “new citizen” of the Republic in everywhere around the country. However, slowing down by 1946 due to interior and exterior pressures, the movement ended once the Institutes were closed down in 1954 and transformed into Teacher’s Training Schools.


The exhibition titled “Mindful Seed Speaking Soil: Village Institutes of the Republic 1940 – 1954” focuses on the Village Institutes as one of the most dramatic processes of evolution in the history of Turkish Republic with archive documents, photographs, personal objects and witness accounts. Curated by Ekrem Işın and organized by the collaborative efforts of Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation İstanbul Research Institute and İsmail Hakkı Tonguç Document Archives, the exhibition was held between 17 April – 31 May 2013 for the first time in İstanbul Research Institute, and then repeated in Ankara, Eskişehir and İzmir. For Antalya exhibition, Aksu Village Institute was also given a wide coverage. Leaving marks indelibly in the collective memory of Antalya, the exhibition examines Aksu Village Institute closely with witnesses, photographs and selected pieces from special collections and Museum of Provincial Directorate of National Education, Antalya.



Aiming to serve students coming from Antalya, Muğla and Mersin, Aksu Village Institute was founded in April 1940. At first, “Instructer Course and Management of Village Institute” established in the building of primary school in Macun Village, within the borders of Aksu Village Institute. In March and April 1940, 18 students, who came from Eskişehir Çifteler Village Institute, built 8 cabins consisting of four for teachers, four for the Institute. In the last week of April, Aksu Village Teacher Training School had started to operate with 83 students in these cabins. Aksu Village Institute gave 751 graduates until 1954, the year in which it transformed into Primary School.


From 1968, the school respectively transformed into Teacher Training School, Teacher Training High School, Education Institution, Anatolian Teacher Training High School and it operates as Aksu Science High School today.