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Education in the Ottoman Empire
In the Ottoman Empire each millet (religious group) established a schooling system serving its members. Education, therefore, was largely divided on ethnic and religious lines: few non-Muslims attended schools for Muslim students and vice versa. Most institutions that did serve all ethnic and religious groups taught in French or in other languages.
Education of Muslims
The Ottoman Empire had traditional Islamic-style schooling. The primary schools were mekteps and secondary schools were medreses. Many such schools were within mosques; accordingly the operators of the mosques served as the headmasters of the mekteps.
Mekteps were coeducational and often charged a nominal fee, although some provided free meals and clothing. Lucy Mary Jane Garnett stated in the 1904 book Turkish Life in Town and Country that even though introductory reading and writing units had been recently introduced, "instruction given in [the schools] is chiefly of a religious character". According to Garnett, due to the early establishments of the mekteps and their social welfare programmes, "There is perhaps no country in Europe in which primary education was provided for at so early a date as in Turkey, or so many inducements held out to poor parents to allow their children to participate in its benefits".
Medreses historically were funded by sultans, and language and Islamic courses formed the curriculum. The graduates of medreses served as the educated classes and worked in government and religious services. In 1904 each provincial town had at least one medrese and Constantinople (now Istanbul) had over 100 of them. According to Garnett, the medreses "resemble in some respects the universities of Western Europe as they existed in mediæval days". Garnett concluded that "it cannot be denied that [ the medreses ] have done good service in their time" due to the prominent graduates they had. By 1904 the endowments, facilities, and welfare benefits of the medreses were in decline, and their importance was in decline.
In addition, by 1904 the empire had established western-style schools. Mahmud II created the rüşdiye schools, which admitted boys, were Turkish medium, and which educated students across various Muslim groups; very few non-Muslim students attended the schools and authorities did not make plans to build such schools in areas populated by Arabs. Located in major cities, they were supported by government money. The courses included the geography and history of the empire, reading and writing, and arithmetic. The schools thereafter increased Turkish comprehension of Bosnian and Cretan residents, and Albanian and Kurdish residents received increased Turkish instruction during the rule of Abdulhamid II. There were also Turkish-medium schools for children of civil service employees located in Arab cities. The modern-style secondary schools, serving boys and preparing students for western-style secondary/higher education, were called Idadiyeh. Garnett stated that as of 1904 they were "very inadequate in number".
Garnett wrote that elite Turkish boys often studied abroad in France and England, but that elite girls at adolescence rarely did as they would have had to have been accompanied by a female relative or minder and observe harem rules; she stated that governesses from England, France, Germany, and elsewhere in Europe taught girls from the elite while they resided at home.
Garnett stated that the Ottomans were adding more schools for working and middle class Turkish girls but that "equipment" was often not sufficient and there were still not enough of them. For primary schools, the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) passed a law in 1913 which made primary education mandatory and free of charges in the whole Ottoman Empire, while limiting the class size to lower than fifty students. The aim of the law was to prepare the pupils for secondary education. 
Education of non-Muslims
Several "foreign schools" (Frerler mektebleri) operated by religious clergy primarily served non-Muslims, although some Muslim students attended.
Johann Strauss, author of "Language and power in the late Ottoman Empire," stated that "a common schooling system" for all religious and ethnic groups never occurred, partly because members of non-Muslim groups resisted learning Turkish, and not due to an inability to learn Turkish; the schools for non-Muslims focused on promotion of ethnic languages.
Garnett described the schools for Christians and Jews as "organised upon European models", with donations supporting their operation and most of them being "well attended" and with "a high standard of education".
The U.S. Commissioner of Education published a report stating that in 1908 there were approximately 12,077 schools in the Ottoman Empire. It stated in 1910 there were an estimated 1,331,200 students enrolled in 36,230 schools in the Ottoman Empire; the students were about 5.3% of the total Ottoman population. In regards to the figures the report stated that there "may be an exaggeration, although it is known that schools have multiplied during the past few years, especially in cities and towns."
In 1909, in Constantinople (Istanbul) there were 626 primary schools and 12 secondary schools. Of the primary schools 561 were of the lower grade and 65 were of the higher grade; of the latter, 34 were public and 31 were private. There was one secondary college and eleven secondary preparatory schools.
The late Ottoman Empire modelled its public university system after the Grandes Ecoles of France; it came into being in the late 1800s, with the first institution being Constantinople's Darülfünun-ı şahane (now Istanbul University). Strauss stated that the Ottoman Empire established its university system later than Austria-Hungary and Russia had.
In 1827 Sultan Mahmud II established the Imperial School of Medicine, a military medical school. In 1867 the Civilian Medical School began operation, and the two merged into a single medical school in 1909.
Another medical school, which was French medium, was Beirut's Faculté Française de Médecine de Beyrouth. The Turkish-medium Şam Mekteb-i tıbbiyye-i mulkiyye-i şahane in Damascus acquired books written in French and enacted French proficiency tests. In 1880 the dual Ottoman Turkish and French-medium law school, Mekteb-i Hukuk, was established.
Around 1859 the Ottoman Turkish-medium School of Administration (Mekteb-i mülkiyye-i şahane) was established. Strauss stated that it helped build the elite of Arab areas and Albanian areas within the Ottoman Empire and post-Ottoman countries. The school had a significant number of Armenian and Greek faculty and students even though Ottoman Turkish was the educational medium. In 1880 the dual Ottoman Turkish and French-medium law school, Mekteb-i Hukuk, was established.
Other medical schools included Faculté Française de Médecine de Beyrouth in Beirut and Şam Mekteb-i tıbbiyye-i mulkiyye-i şahane in Damascus; they were French-medium and Ottoman Turkish-medium, respectively. The latter acquired books written in Ottoman Turkish and French and enacted French proficiency tests.
A number of Ottomans studied abroad in Europe.
- Anatolia College in Merzifon (tertiary component)
- Imperial School of Medicine
- Imperial School of Naval Engineering (Ottoman Turkish: Ottoman Turkish: Mühendishane-i Bahr-i Hümayun), now Istanbul Technical University
- Sanasarian College in Erzerum
For modern-day territories once a part of the empire:
- Education in Albania
- Education in Bulgaria
- Education in Egypt
- Education in Greece
- Education in Iraq
- Education in Israel
- Education in Jordan
- Education in Lebanon
- Education in Libya
- Education in North Macedonia
- Education in the State of Palestine
- Education in Saudi Arabia (for schools in the modern day Hejaz region)
- Education in Serbia
- Education in Syria
- Education in Turkey
- Education in Yemen
- Strauss, Johann (2016-07-07). "Language and power in the late Ottoman Empire". In Murphey, Rhoads (ed.). Imperial Lineages and Legacies in the Eastern Mediterranean: Recording the Imprint of Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Rule. Routledge. ISBN 9781317118459.
- Strauss, Johann. "Language and power in the late Ottoman Empire" (Chapter 7). In: Murphey, Rhoads (editor). Imperial Lineages and Legacies in the Eastern Mediterranean: Recording the Imprint of Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Rule (Volume 18 of Birmingham Byzantine and Ottoman Studies). Routledge, 7 July 2016. ISBN 1317118448, 9781317118442.
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- Strauss, ISBN 1317118448, 9781317118442. Google Books PT195.
- "Artist Feature: Who Was Osman Hamdi Bey?". How To Talk About Art History. 27 April 2017. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
- Journal of the American Medical Association, Volume 79. American Medical Association, 1922. p. 646
- Garnett, Lucy Mary Jane. Turkish Life in Town and Country. G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1904. p. 196.
- Gamm, Niki (2013-10-12). "Istanbul's schools under the Ottomans". Hürriyet Daily News. Retrieved 2019-06-02.
- Garnett, Lucy Mary Jane. Turkish Life in Town and Country. G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1904. p. 198.
- Garnett, Lucy Mary Jane. Turkish Life in Town and Country. G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1904. p. 197.
- Garnett, Lucy Mary Jane. Turkish Life in Town and Country. G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1904. p. 198-199.
- Garnett, Lucy Mary Jane. Turkish Life in Town and Country. G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1904. p. 200.
- Garnett, Lucy Mary Jane. Turkish Life in Town and Country. G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1904. p. 199.
- Garnett, Lucy Mary Jane. Turkish Life in Town and Country. G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1904. p. 200-201.
- Garnett, Lucy Mary Jane. Turkish Life in Town and Country. G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1904. p. 201.
- Garnett, Lucy Mary Jane. Turkish Life in Town and Country. G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1904. p. 202-203.
- Garnett, Lucy Mary Jane. Turkish Life in Town and Country. G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1904. p. 205.
- Üngör, Ugur Ümit (March 2012). The Making of Modern Turkey: Nation and State in Eastern Anatolia, 1913-1950. OUP Oxford. p. 173. ISBN 978-0-19-965522-9.
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- "Report of the Commissioner of Education for the Year Ended June 30, 1912." Whole Number 525. Volume 1. Washington Government Printing Office, 1913. In: Congressional Edition, Volume 6410. U.S. Government Printing Office, 1913. p. 570.
- Strauss ( ISBN 1317118448, 9781317118442), Google Books PT 197.
- Trompoukis, Constantinos; Lascaratos, John (2003). "Greek Professors of the Medical School of Constantinople during a Period of Reformation (1839–76)". Journal of Medical Biography. 11 (4): 226–231. doi:10.1177/096777200301100411. PMID 14562157. - First published November 1, 2003. - Cited: p. 226 (PDF p. 1/5).
- Strauss ( ISBN 1317118448, 9781317118442), Google Books PT194.
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- "Les etudiants ottomans en Europe". Servet-i Funoun Partie Français (in French) (1380): 3. 1918-02-14.
- Gelişli, Yucel (April 2004). "Education of women from the Ottoman Empire to modern Turkey". SEER: Journal for Labour and Social Affairs in Eastern Europe. Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft mbH. 7 (4, The industrial perspective of the Balkans): 121–135. JSTOR 43293079.
- Özcan, Ruhi (Seljuk University Faculty of Education) (2015). "Ottoman family and child education (1300-1600)". Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences. 174 (174): 1606–1613. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.01.811.
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