Turkish vocational schools help fight virus

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ANKARA

Dozens of vocational schools in Turkey have joined forces and started producing essential items in the fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic, becoming one of the most important players in the country as the epidemic continues to spread and to cause victims.

An article written by Deputy Education Minister Mahmut Ozer was published on Saturday, describing the role of Turkish vocational schools amid the outbreak and saying they are mobilizing all facilities to meet the needs of society and support health professionals.

Vocational education and training [VET] have been essential to Turkey’s well-being during the coronavirus pandemic. With increased production capacity, VET has become one of the main suppliers to society nowadays, ”according to the article.

Noting that medical masks have become the most needed equipment since the start of the pandemic, he said dozens of schools were able to produce one million masks in a short period of time, now reaching a capacity of 10 million masks. per month, including N95 medical grade respirator standards.

He went on to say that vocational high schools are also focusing on the production of hygiene, cleaning and disinfection materials, and that schools have the capacity to meet all the cleaning material needs of around 54,000 schools. Across the country.

Since disposable items were now more needed than ever due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, vocational schools have the necessary production equipment. They can make products including disposable gowns and coveralls, especially for healthcare workers, as well as disposable forks and knives.

Using 3D printers, schools are also mass producing face shields and can supply up to half a million a month.

It was further stated in the article that engineers had built a device capable of producing tens of thousands of surgical masks daily and that it would be distributed to vocational schools with the aim of increasing mask production.

Stressing that N95 masks were not as accessible due to the outbreak, the article said that the National Education Ministry had launched efforts to build equipment to produce such masks.

“[N]95 masks are either very few or not accessible. To this end, the Ministry of National Education has initiated research and development for the production of machines. The development process is continuing successfully and the first machine is expected to be produced in April 2020, ”he explained.

“Vocational education and training is becoming an important source in making products in high demand in times of crisis,” the article said, adding that these efforts, along with the skills of VET students and teachers, had the potential to meet the needs of societies.

Turkey has so far reported around 82,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and the death toll stands at 1,890 with nearly 10,500 people fully cured of the disease. The country has carried out nearly 600,000 tests for the virus.

As part of the national measures against the coronavirus, schools are currently closed in Turkey, although education continues through distance courses broadcast on television and put online by the Ministry of National Education.

The new coronavirus has spread to 185 countries and regions since it emerged in China last December, with the United States and Europe now the hardest-hit areas in the world.

More than 2.3 million cases have been reported worldwide, with a death toll of over 158,600 and nearly 589,500 recoveries, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

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