Symposium on Vocational Training and Employment of Women Held at CoHE
December 13, 2017 / Ankara
Jülide Sarıeroğlu, Minister of Labor and Social Security, and Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya, Minister of Family and Social Policy, attended the "Symposium on Vocational Training and Employment of Women" held at CoHE.
Some members of the Parliament, rectors and vice rectors of universities, officials from women's studies centers of universities, related academics, women entrepreneurs and students from various universities participated in the symposium. They discussed the challenges and solutions regarding the employment of women.
CoHE President Prof. Dr. M. A. Yekta Saraç, Minister of Labor and Social Security Jülide Sarıeroğlu and Minister of Family and Social Policy Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya delivered a speech at the opening of the symposium.
CoHE President Prof. Dr. M. A. Yekta Saraç began his speech by stating that the Council of Higher Education organized the program in line with the importance they place on the vocational training of women.
President Saraç stated that vocational training was considered important in the 10th Development Plan covering the years 2014-2018 and said, "The number of students in higher education that were receiving vocational training in vocational schools was 2 million 566 thousand -or 33%- in 2017. %48 of them were female students."
He noted that the Unit of Women's Studies in Academia of the Council of Higher Education met with the officials of the Ministry of Family and Social Policy and the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, directors of vocational schools and units of women's studies in various workshops that were held in the 2016-2017 academic year, adding that they had been carrying out studies under the title "Empowering Female Students and Role Models" which was about increasing the employment of women in the country and ensuring the female students graduating from vocational schools to have a role in economic growth and sustainable development in the workshops.
CoHE President underlined that women's participation in economic life and their status moving up to the top in society is a sign of the development of a country and said, "There has been a significant increase in women's participation and employment in the workforce especially in the last decade in our country. It is aimed to increase the rate of women's participation in the workforce, which was 32.5% in 2016, to 41% by 2023."
In addition to vocational training in vocational schools that teach sufficient vocational skills to students, CoHE President Saraç said that the Council of Higher Education also attaches importance to increasing the contribution of the business world to vocational training, ensuring that the sector would look after graduates and putting forward the policies for "Empowering Training" for female students who received training in vocational schools.
"According to the Global Gender Gap Report published by the World Economic Forum in November 2017, Turkey is ranked 131 among 144 countries and is among the lowest-ranked countries among the OECD member countries in women's participation in the workforce. However, Turkey has a good ranking in the education of women in the statistics. Our goal is not only to better educate this valuable group of women but also to promote them in the business world.
Studies show that the gross national product of Turkey could rise to 20% if the rate of women's participation in the workforce, which was around 34% in 2017, would increase to the OECD average of 63% by 2025. We need to make visible efforts about this topic. The examples in the world statistics reveal that we can reach our goals in 3 to 5 years if we can put clear concepts and programs before us."
He concluded his speech by stating that he believed the symposium would raise vital awareness about the issue.
Click here to read the full transcript of the speech made by CoHE President Prof. M. A. Yekta Saraç. (In Turkish)
Minister of Labor and Social Security Jülide Sarıeroğlu delivered a speech after CoHE President Saraç's speech. She said that they observed a significant rise both in women's participation in the workforce and employment rate as a result of the increase in the level of education.
Sarıeroğlu pointed out the importance of equipping women with new qualifications that are in line with the needs and expectations of the working life and emphasized that the Ministry of Labor and Social Security has been vigilant in this sense.
Minister Sarıeroğlu noted that Turkey will be stronger if there are powerful women and said:
"If women do not actively take part in the working life and in the growth and development process of Turkey, our growth and development process will be incomplete and inadequate.
7 million 775 thousand people have joined the workforce in the last 10 years. We were able to provide employment for 6.5 million people, 3 million of which are women. This is the main indicator that shows the female-oriented success story of Turkey about the employment of women. It is pleasing to see that the increase in the employment of women in Turkey has exceeded 50% while the employment rate for women in the member countries of the European Union is around 4%. Turkey has an increase rate of the employment of women that is almost equivalent to the population of a country."
Minister of Family and Social Policy Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya said that they had made constitutional and legal provisions in order to take reformative steps in the last 15 years.
Minister Kaya noted that the Minister of Family and Social Policy had been carrying out its main policies in order to strengthen the social status of women, ensure equal opportunity for men and women and prevent violence and abuse against women and said, "In a country where a woman is strong, families and the society will also be strong."
She noted that the Ministry should carry out more studies in the future in order to ensure that female students would prefer the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in vocational schools, which have a significant role in vocational training and said, "We have been working with the goal of "powerful women, powerful families, powerful society" as we are preparing for the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey."
She said that making vocational training more appealing for girls was also extremely important in increasing the employment rate of women in Turkey, noting that Turkey has made significant progress with the action plans prepared in three topics, which are empowerment of women, prevention of violence against women and fight against early and forced marriage.
She informed the participants about the study entitled "Unemployment Problem of Young Girls Graduating from Vocational High Schools and Vocational Schools and Solutions" that has been carried out by the Ministry and the Unit of Women's Studies in Academia of CoHE and stated that they have been discussing the problems female students face during their education in vocational schools, their employment after graduation and their working lives and the steps to be take in the future.
Following the speeches, Assoc. Prof. Dr. E. Sare Aydın Yılmaz from Istanbul Commerce University moderated the opening panel, which was held with the participation of Radiye Sezer Katırcıoğlu, Chairperson of the Committee on Equal Opportunity for Women and Men of GNAT, Prof. Dr. Lale Tokgözoğlu from Hacettepe University and Prof. Dr. Timur Gültekin from Ankara University.
After the opening panel, Prof. Dr. Nigar Demircan Çakar, Rector of Düzce University, chaired the section in which some participants made presentations.
Zuhal Erol, faculty member at Sakarya University, made a presentation entitled "How Does Vocational Training Affect Quality Employment for Women? A Good Practice: 3+1 Education Model at Sakarya University". Asst. Prof. Dr. N. Özlem Ünverdi from Yıldız Technical University made a presentation entitled "Women's Status and Performance in Vocational Training". Asst. Prof. Dr. Fatma Çelik from Ahi Evran University made a presentation entitled "The First Professional Women's Organization in the World: Bacıyan-ı Rum". Mine Demir, research assistant at Bartın University, made a presentation entitled "Assessment on the Current Contributions of Policies for Women in Vocational Training since the Ottoman Period".
Following the question and answer session, Prof. Dr. Serpil Sancar from Ankara University delivered the closing address on the evaluation of the symposium.
Obituary... Nurettin Çobanoğlu, Deputy Secretary General of CoHE, passed away.
Nurettin Çobanoğlu, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Higher Education, who was hospitalized last week, passed away. May he rest in peace. We offer our condolences to his family and his colleagues at CoHE.
Joint Statement by the Council of Higher Education (CoHE)
and the Inter-University Council (UAK)*
"The decision of the United States of America to recognize Jerusalem, the common holy and ancient city of humanity, as the capital of Israel and to move its diplomatic mission to Jerusalem was an exceptionally unfortunate decision in terms of universal peace, especially the peace in the region.
Jerusalem, which is the sacred place of the three Abrahamic religions, set an example for humanity as a place where different religions and beliefs have lived in harmony in the Ottoman period. This sacred place, which has interiorized the culture of living together throughout the history, currently needs peace more than ever.
In an environment where the international community, including the United States of America, accepts that Jerusalem is under occupation, the initiative that disregards international law, the UN resolutions and the concerns of countries and is likely to fuel the conflicts in the region is totally unacceptable.
As the Council of Higher Education and the Inter-University Council, we appeal to the world leaders to take a stand for peace, conscience and justice by calling attention to this wrong decision and make a request to the United States of America to withdraw its decision.
We invite all national and international platforms to take a common stance against the actions and decisions that will harm the historical and sacred feature of Jerusalem, the City of Peace."
* This statement was prepared by the members of CoHE and UAK and announced to the public in the UAK meeting that was held at CoHE today.
CoHE to Keep Issue of Unemployed University Graduates in Check
December 8, 2017
CoHE President Prof. Dr. M. A. Yekta Saraç noted that the Advisory Board for Higher Education Programs and Coordination Board for Vocational Schools –their regulations were released in order to put a halt to the growth in the number of unemployed university graduates in Turkey- would work in coordination with the ministries, other institutions and the business world. He pointed out that the issues of unemployed university graduates and the lack of workforce in required fields would be among the priority topics that needed to be resolved in the near future.
President Saraç made a statement on the events to be carried out within the scope of the Regulations of the Advisory Board for Higher Education Programs and Coordination Board for Vocational Schools, which entered into force after being released in the Official Gazette.
He noted that they included many adjustments related to higher education in the Production Reform Package and that they had previously announced those adjustments as "Silent Revolution in Higher Education".
He stated that the realization of the articles stated in the Production Reform Package was considered as the realization of a silent revolution. He said that this would steer universities to become a part of a more competitive atmosphere at all levels and they would center quality on growth in higher education.
He noted that CoHE would delegate or share some of its duties according to the articles, indicating that it would take decisions in a more participatory way and its decisions would be open to the external stakeholders.
The business world will also have a say in the planning process
President Saraç stated that Turkey was ranked second in 137 countries in the rates of access to higher education and that there were no problems regarding the access to higher education according to the 2017-2018 Report of the World Economic Forum. He also pointed out that unemployed university graduates could become one of the most important issues in the years ahead in Turkey.
"The issues of unemployed university graduates and the lack of workforce in required fields will be among the priority topics that will need to be resolved in the near future. The relation between graduates and employment is of great importance in terms of global competitiveness of Turkey. In this context, the Advisory Board for Higher Education Programs and Coordination Board for Vocational Schools –their regulations were released in order to put a halt to the growth in the number of unemployed university graduates in Turkey- would work in coordination with the ministries, other institutions and the business world through TOBB. Therefore, we will reveal the qualified work force needed by the country and make plans related to Turkish universities accordingly."
He underlined that CoHE could not take all the responsibility for determining university quotas and higher education programs to be established and said, "These boards will allow CoHE to plan the quotas in a more rational and participatory way after receiving the opinions of the other stakeholders."
President Saraç pointed out that the development of Turkey could not depend solely on the increase of the number of university graduates in the near future, emphasizing the importance of skill-based teaching in the development of the country.
He stated that the two boards that will be active in various fields, from quota planning to employment-oriented policies in higher education programs, are a part of the process of the transfer of CoHE's duties and said, "As the new CoHE, we will continue the process of authority transfer and sharing."
CoHE Takes Measures to Prevent Use of Foreign Language Education as Advertising Medium in Higher Education
December 6, 2017 / Ankara
- The Council of Higher Education will let students know if universities and four-year schools offering foreign language education were accredited by national and international institutions in the YKS selection guide.
CoHE President Prof. Dr. M. A. Yekta Saraç:
- "Our goal is to be cautious about the use of the English language as an advertising medium in higher education"
- "We are planning to include the names of the four-year schools offering foreign language education which were accredited for English education in this year's YKS selection guide in line with our goal of providing quality-based learning in higher education"
- "Thus, we want students to see the difference in the quality of foreign language education offered at universities"
The Council of Higher Education held the "Meeting on Improving the Quality of the English Language Education in Higher Education" with the participation of CoHE President Prof. Dr. M. A. Yekta Saraç in order to discuss the Improvement of the Quality of English Education in Higher Education Program (KGP).
In addition to the officials of the British Council and CoHE, the rectors and vice rectors of Adana Science and Technology University, Atatürk University, Bursa Technical University, Erciyes University and Karabük University, in which the program that has been carried out in cooperation with the British Council and the Council of Higher Education were initiated as a pilot program, also attended the meeting.
CoHE President Prof. Dr. M. A. Yekta Saraç stated that they were in the process of including the information regarding the accreditation of foreign language preparatory schools of universities and four-year schools that offer foreign language education in the selection guide of the Higher Education Institutions Exam (YKS).
"One of the essential points of knowledge is the efficient use of language, a medium used to convey knowledge, whether it is native or foreign language," said CoHE President Saraç, noting that their priority goal was to create knowledge at every level of higher education.
Saraç reiterated that the Council of Higher Education collaborated with the British Council two years before in order to reveal the status of programs of the universities that mostly offer their courses in a foreign language and said, "We have brought up the issues encountered in English language education in Turkey before. We emphasized that some problems had occurred in the transfer of scientific knowledge which led to the obstruction of science, other than the improper use of the language in programs offered in English."
Saraç stated that the Council of Higher Education decided to launch a pilot study of the Improvement of the Quality of English Education in Higher Education Program (KGP) at Adana Science and Technology University, Atatürk University, Bursa Technical University, Erciyes University and Karabük University two years before, in cooperation with the British Council. He also said that they discussed the current situation of the program in a meeting held with the participation of the rectors of the five universities and the officials from the British Council.
"B1 level is low for higher education"
President Saraç said the following regarding the meeting where they discussed the topics related to the quality and level of education in the preparatory schools and foreign language four-year schools of the universities that have faculties that offer English language education:
"We were informed that B1 level, which was aimed in English at universities, was considered low for higher education and that the number of successful cases were quite a few. We also learned that students in preparatory schools and four-year schools were not able to have a connection with English for 4 years and that there were some problems about the instruction of courses in English. It was also stated in the report that faculty members were not as competent as they should be in teaching courses in a foreign language. Therefore, we decided to lay emphasis on offering a continuous education for faculty members."
"Accreditation process should be initiated"
CoHE President noted that they must raise awareness about the four-year schools and universities that offer foreign language education in Turkey and initiate the accreditation process for the four-year schools that offer preparatory language courses so that students could make "right" choices.
"If a foreign language is not used efficiently, that language will no longer be a medium used for conveying science. A foreign language that is used inefficiently would only become an advertising medium. Our aim is to be cautious about the use of English as an advertising medium in higher education," he said.
He continued by saying, "We are planning to include the names of the four-year schools offering foreign language education that were accredited for English education in this year's YKS selection guide in order to prevent students to be affected negatively and in line with our goal of providing quality-based learning in higher education. Thus, we want students to see the difference in the quality of foreign language education offered at universities. This will allow students to make more conscious choices."