The Village Institutes Research and Education Development Foundation


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)