Operating since 1873, Darüşşafaka Schools, the first private school to have been established by a non-governmental organization, have been providing an 8-year education from the 5th grade to their high school graduation with a full scholarship and boarding opportunity to talented but financially disadvantaged kids with deceased fathers or mothers. Students receive a high-quality education along with an intensive foreign language curriculum. Students grow up as socially and culturally knowledgeable individuals.
Today, Darüşşafaka Schools in Maslak, Istanbul educates and trains almost 1000 students who are selected through an exam from all corners of Turkey. They are raised as modern, self-confident, curious, and socially responsible individuals that are life-long learners and researchers and are committed to Ataturk’s principles.
In 1863, five young idealist intellectuals that were aged between 24 and 38 and whose names were Yusuf Ziya Pasha, Ghazi Ahmet Muhtar Pasha, Tevfik Pasha of Vidin, Ahmet Esat Pasha of Chios, and Ali Naki Effendi founded the association called Cemiyet-i Tedrisiye-i İslamiye to support the training and education of the needy and under-served community. Being the first non-governmental organization operating in the field of education, Cemiyet-i Tedrisiye-i İslamiye, which is now called as Darüşşafaka Society, started classes after having the old Valide School in the Beyazıt district of İstanbul renovated. In 1873, the Society opened a school under the name of Darüşşafakat’ül İslamiye as a no-fee boarding school with special status with an aim to provide education and training to orphans and children who come from low-income families.
Being the first non-governmental organization operating in the field of education, the Darüşşafaka Society has been continuing its activities since 1863 by remaining loyal to its mission of “equality of opportunity in education”. The purpose of the Society, which was granted the “Public-Benefit Association” status upon a decision of the Council of Ministers in 1940, is to raise talented but financially disadvantaged kids with deceased fathers and/or mothers as self-confident individuals that are lifelong learners, have adopted and internalized universal values, are aware of their duties and responsibilities toward their country and community, and have achieved lifetime happiness and success. All opportunities made available for students at Darüşşafaka Schools are funded by donations from individuals, institutions, and organizations to the Society.
Darüşşafaka Middle School accepts its students through the Darüşşafaka Entrance Exam which is administered across Turkey and includes components testing student success in general aptitude, mathematics, and Turkish language. Today, it provides quality education to more than 400 students without compromising its mission of equality of opportunity in education.
Besides the high-standard education achieved thanks to its teaching staff, Darüşşafaka Middle School also sets and maintains the best environment for its students to discover and develop their potential; and it carries out different programs and skill workshops in order to improve their scientific thinking skills.
For Darüşşafaka Middle School, raising individuals that adopt and respect values, have strong social communication and life skills, are culturally equipped, responsible, curious, and creative is as important as students’ academic success.
Darüşşafaka High School accepts Darüşşafaka Secondary School students who are successful according to the Promotion of Students Regulation of Darüşşafaka. While Darüşşafaka High School prepares academically fully-equipped students for the next educational institution thanks to its strong teaching staff, it also prepares its students as individuals who have 21st-century competencies, are aware of their skills, are at one with the values of Darüşşafaka, love their country, and think globally within the frame of Atatürk’s principles.
Besides being fluent in English thanks to the effective foreign language education at Darüşşafaka, students also take mathematics and natural sciences courses in English.
Darüşşafaka educates its students to be placed in the best universities of Turkey, and achievements in national and international competitions, skills workshops, arts, and sports are the indispensable parts of the high school, too.