The Village Institutes Research and Education Development Foundation


The Uncompleted Education Revolution

In between 1936-1946… Young Republic has reached its 10th year anniversary and great works were accomplished.

However a fundemental social, cultural and economic restructuring had not been achieved yet.

People are poor and the state is overwhelmed by Ottoman debt. The economic problems are huge. Ther is no teacher and primary school in 30.000 villages out of 40.000.

The war is at the doorstep…The State intervention increased, black market is everywhere…

Atatürk saw the peasent as “the master of the nation” and express his understanding of education in this manner:

 “The aim of the Turkish National Education is; tor render knowledge into a useful tool in life to reach success rather than a tool for oppression or a pleasure of civilisation.” 

A prompt solution is sought after. Atatürk finds a solution…Successfull sergeants and corporals will be trained and will become educators and guide peasents all over Turkey.

1937: Trainer Courses start to open

Thousands of trainers build primary schools with 3 classes allongside villiagers, guide them and take the responsibility of education. Between 1937-1940 four village teacher schools are opened for trial. The outcomes are positive…

Hasan Ali Yücel becomes the Minister of Education, İsmail Hakkı Tonguç beocomes the General Director of Primary Education

According to Tonguç “The village issue is not simply structured development of a village but structural and meaningful revival of the villagers and villages from the inside. For Tonguç and his team “there is no village problem”, instead there are problems of “intellectuals”, “occupations”“education”  and on top of them ther is a “country problem”.

1940.04.17: 3803 numbered act is put in place. The Village Institutes are established; “village teachers and other useful proffessionals will be trained” at agricultural areas… Graduated Teachers “ will individually create samples such as fields, vineyards, gardens and studios to provide guidance for the villagers in order to carry out agricultural works in a scientific manner.”

1942: High Village Institute is established in Ankara, Hasanoğlan. It is an institution that is going to make education plans and research at an academic level. The institution provides training to teachers for village institutes. The first level of the system is completed. The traveling head teacher, inspector, instructor, teacher, professor and administrators will exchange information and experiences and the system will be dynamic and self reviving. From East Anataolia to Thrace, the whole Nation is divided into 21 regions and village instutes are set up in each of them.

1946: Hasan Ali Yücel, the founder and great educator İsmail Hakkı Tonguç and his team were dismissed of their duties.

Landlords and their domestic and international supporters did not allow this great attempt to materialized. However they couldn’t dare to end an institution which was so effective and had good results…This process happens gradually over 8 years.

1947: First the program is changed. Basic principles and activities such as job training, student participation in management, the sourcing of land and equipment to graduates is ended.

In the same year, the High Village Institute which serves as the brain of the system is closed down. The students are transferred to other schools. Some students do their military service as sergeants because they are leftist.

1948: Teachers training courses are ended. The Village Instutes, although remaining with the same names, the content is tottaly changed and eventually girls and boy students are seperated.

1954: They are turned into Primary Schools and are completely closed.

Thus the application of this unique piece of Educational History which was proposed by UNESCO for developping countries was ended.


Until the 1945-46 Education Year:

17 321 teachers, 8756 trainers, 1599 health officers, mllions of graduated students, dozens of writers, scientists, artists;

710 buildings, 15 000 acres of  processed land , 750.000 planted seedlings, 1.200 acres of vineyards..

With Respect to Memory of İsmail Hakkı Tonguç’s Life and Works

The great educator Tonguç passed away on June 23rd 1960 but he became immortalized through his Work. Like all people who devoted themselves to the public, he will never been forgotten, not in 49 years but in 1049 years.

He worked with the Minister of National Education Hasan Ali Yücel between 1939-1946 who personally appointed him to the Directorate General of Primary Education.

Ismail Hakkı Tonguç was born in 1897 in Tatarmaca Village in Silistre, he was the oldest son born into a family of farmers.

The book TONGUÇ’A KİTAP  dated 1961 which was arrogated to him, starts with this thought of his friends; “ we thought he would be offended to see us wasting too much time grieving so we decided to turn our pain into work”

1914 de Kastamonu Öğretmen Okulu’na girmiştir. Eylül 1918 de İstanbul Öğretmen Okulu’ndan mezun olmuş ve 20 arkadaşı ile Almanya’ya öğrenime gönderilmiştir. 1918-1922 arasında Almanya’da çeşitli enstitülerde seminerlere katılmıştır. Konya Lisesi Resim Öğretmenliği, Ankara ve Adana Erkek Öğretmen Okullarında öğretmenlik ve yöneticilik, Maarif Vekaleti Levazım ve Alatıdersiye Müzesi Müdürlüğü yapmıştır. The representative of Levazım and

He got into Kastamaonu Teachers’ Training School in 1914. He graduated in September 1918 and was sent to Germany for education along with 20 of his friends. He attended seminars in various institutes, between 1918-1922 in Germany. He was an art teacher in Konya High School, and also taught in Ankara and Adana Boys Teacers Schools,  held adminstrative positions.  He has been the representative of the Ministery of Education and  the manager of Levazım and Atalıdersiye Museum.

On the 20th of June 1920, he attended a mobile exhibition which was arranged to fit inside a train which continued for a few months throughout Central and Northern Anatolia.

On October 1929 he was tasked with buying teaching materials and doing research in Italy, Switzerland, France, England, Germany and Austria.

While Saffet Arıkan was the Minister of Culture, Tonguç was appointed to the Primary Education Directorate as Proxy on 3rd of August 1935. During this time,

until he was appointed to Principal on 31st January 1935 (4,5 years) he was commisioned for two months in Bulgaria, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Austria, Germany tasked with determining the fundemental principals of Village Institutes, opening the early training courses, opening village teachers training schools and analyzing primary education networks. He collected his experiences in two seperate books.

The Books He Wrote:

Elişi Rehberi (with Arabic Letters) (1927),
Muallim Almanağı (1928),
Mürebbinin Ruhu ve Muallim Yetiştirme Meselesi (translated from Kerschensteiner) (1931),
İlk Orta ve Muallim Mekteplerinde Resim Elişleri ve Sanat Terbiyesi, (1932),
İş ve Meslek Terbiyesi (1933),
Kerschensteiner (1933),
Almanya Maarifi (with Reşat Şemsettin Sirer) (1934),
Köyde Eğitim (1938)
Canlandırılacak Köy (1938),
İlkokul Öğretmenleri İçin Yaptırılacak Evler (1944).

Tonguç who was well educated on the basis of Atatürk’s thoughts on education and peasantry and stenghtened what he learnt from the West; when it was time to practice his knowledge, he visited nearly 10.0000 villages and collected information. The system he established and put into action, covered the whole country, syhnthesized the most advanced models of his era in terms of educational science and was adapted to the needs of our country.

In 1946, after the Second Imperialist War, Turkey connected unconditionally to the Western Block, the Turkish Government surrendered to the dominence of a conservative vision and the demolition process of Village Institues began.

On September 21st 1946, Tonguç who was dismissed of his duty as the Director of Primary Education, was assigned to be a member of the State Education Board. Although the second expanded edition of  ‘ The Concept of Primary Education and Reviving Village Books’ was published. Although his work called ‘Teachers’ Encyclopedia’ was published by İskit Publishing House, after the 3rd edition, the publishing house stopped due to political pressure. On April 2nd 1949 he was appointed to Ankara Ataturk High School as an arts and crafts teacher. The Atlas of Psychology which he edited with Hayrullah Örs was bought by the Minstry of Education but wasn’t published.




On September 11th 1950, Tonguç was placed under the ministry’s command by Tevfik İleri without any justification.

On September 30th 1930, the Ministery opened an investigation about him. The investigation was based on the fact that; while he was the general directorate he gave a book called ‘Fontamara’ by İgnazio Silone as a gift to his friend (the teacher of Hasanoğlan Village Institute, İzzet Palamar.) (The State Council dismissed the case four years later. During this time and he wasn’t given his personal rights.)

On December 5th 1950, he applies to the State Council to be given an explaniation for  the reason behind being taken under the command of the ministery without recieving his personal rights.

1952 His work called ‘Teachers Encyclopedia and Pedagogy’ is published by BİR Publishing House

1953 Jan the 10th : Requests his retirement

1954 Feb the 16th : The Council State withdraw the decision of him taken under the Ministery Command and his personal rights are given back

1956 July the 25th : He visits Holland, Austria, Switzerland and Italy. He examines Pestalozzi Village in Switzerland.

1960 June the 23rd : He is passed away.

The text is written by: Güler Yalçın, June 2009

The Source: Tonguç’a Kitap, İstanbul 1961, Ekin Basımevi ( The Book for Tonguç, Istanbul 1961, Ekin Publishing House)

From Atatürk, İnönü and Tonguç

At the 1925 Teachers’ Union Congress, Atatürk says about education and training:

It is important that the education and training at all educational levels is based on business principle for our boys and girls equally. Our Counry’s children should be educated constratively, effectively and successfully in the economic field at every educational level. Our national rituals should be developed and strengthened with principles of civilazition and free thinking. This is very important. I would like to draw your attention that the morality based on fear is not a virtue and is not reliable.

İsmet İnönü says about Village Institutes:

I consider the work of Village Institute as the most precious and the most beloved of the Republic. I will closely follow the success of our children raised by Village Institutes throughout my life., 09.05.1942 

İsmail Hakkı Tonguç says:

 “To us, a man is one who can be useful and acomplish what needs to be done. We don’t call a man, one who talks or writes without doing work, and we don’t believe that a person who doesn’t work would be honest and smart. Such people have not been seen to lead a nation down the correct path. Incompetent people say that they love their homeland, but it is not genuine love. People who work and get things done, don’t like this attitude. This is the reason that the literate and the peasant have grown apart.”

Our Publications

Beşikdüzü Köy Enstitüsü Hikayesi Bitmedi, Kaveg Publishing, 2008, Güler Yalçın, F. Kamacıoğlu

Eğitim Mirasımız Köy Enstitüleri ve Uygulanabilirliği, Kaveg-Literatür Publishing, 2008, kollektif”, (The Book of Semposium)

Köy Enstitüleri Sistemine Toplu Bir Bakış, Niyazi Altunya, 2. Edition, Kaveg Publishing, 2009, İstanbul

Ferit Oğuzbayır’a 115. Yıl Armağanı Köy Enstitüleri, 2015, İstanbul

The Event was held on with the participation of Foundation of Village Institute and Contemporary Education’,  the family of Ferit Oğuz Bayır and Foça Municipality “the Literature which emerged from Village Institute is the for Oğuz Bayır” has been booked.


Köy Enstitülerinden Doğan Edebiyat Güler Yalçın, S. Albayrak, A. Küçükkayıkçı, Kaveg Publishing, 2015, İstanbul.

Canlandırılan Ütopya, Prof. Dr. Güler Yalçın, E-yayınları Publishing

Suçumuz Köy Enstitülü Olmak, Hamdi İlker, E-yayınları Publishing



“Kepirtepe’den Üstünler Geçti”
“Umuda İlk Adım”

(Project: Prof. Dr. Güler Yalçın)