CoHE President Saraç: "Articles In Reform Package Could Be Defined As Silent Revolution"
CoHE President Sarac noted that ten articles about the CoHE Law were proposed and included in the Production Reform Package and said, "These articles could, in fact, be defined as silent revolution in higher education."
CoHE President Yekta Saraç made a statement about the articles related to the Higher Education Law that were included in the Production Reform Package at the press conference.
Saraç said that the latest developments about research-focused specialization would come out the following month and added, "But these are the projects that emerged with the initiative of the administration of the new CoHE. The legal basis was also needed to be established and institutionalized."
CoHE President noted that they submitted a series of legislative proposals to the Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology and said:
"Science, Industry and Technology Minister Faruk Özlü and the government approved the inclusion of nearly ten articles about the CoHE Law into the Production Reform Package. In fact, these articles found their own places. They are included in the production package which aims at developing the country. As you know, development can happen only with production and production can happen only with knowledge and work force. These articles constitute the academic pillar of this purpose. They could, in fact, be defined as silent revolution in higher education. The realization of these articles is the realization of a silent revolution. They have been expected for some time but could not been realized for many years. They will lead our universities to a more competitive environment at all levels, place quality in the center of growth in higher education, ensure that CoHE will take decisions in a more open and sharing manner after transferring some of its authority, promote the process of producing knowledge and training researchers, develop the relations among our universities, business world and external stakeholders and make a leap in higher education."
"All universities are the same"
Saraç also made a statement regarding the legislative proposal for mission differentiation and specialization of higher education institutions. He pointed out that the current law did not provide opportunities for differentiation in universities and said that universities were almost identical.
Saraç said that the new legal regulation will also give the task of providing the specialization of universities to the Council of Higher Education and that the cooperation among the related ministries will enable higher education institutions to get specialized. He also noted that the competition will be encouraged and that it will provide important contributions towards reaching the goals of Turkey.
Advisory Board to be Introduced
Saraç underlined that "unemployed graduates" and the lack of workforce in the fields needed in Turkey would be among the priority issues that needed to be solved in the near future. In this context, Saraç noted that the relation between graduates and employment is of great importance in terms of the global competition of Turkey and stated that universities should plan the quotas of the universities together with the related ministries and private sector. Saraç stated that an Advisory Board for Higher Education Programs would be formed within the scope of the new regulation and emphasized that the board and the quota planned by CoHE could become more rational and participatory if the opinions of other stakeholders would be taken as well.
Workplace-based Training to be Promoted
Yekta Saraç pointed out that the majority of the students, especially those studying in science and engineering sciences at universities, tended to work in the industry after graduation but that those students had difficulties during the employment process after graduation because they did not acquire enough skill-based competencies while training.
"With this legal legislative, students will be encouraged to train at the workplaces for one semester in science and engineering programs. In this way, graduates with a high level of competence will be able to work in the business world and universities will also be able to develop cooperation with the business world. These students will be supported financially," CoHE President Saraç said.
Students to be assigned to BAP projects could become scholarship holders
Saraç said that no payment could be made to human resources which were of great importance in terms of global competition even though the budget of the Scientific Research Projects (BAP) was spent on building materials and equipment and consumables only under the current law and regulations. "With the new legislation, scholarships will be offered to students doing masters with thesis and doctoral students who will take part in scientific research projects. In this way, both our capacity of researchers and our capacity in scientific research production will increase."
Instructors could work until 75
Yekta Saraç noted that the necessity for faculty members is not only in the newly established universities but also in all universities in the priority areas and added, "With this legislative regulation, it will be possible for the retired faculty members to work until the age of 75 in case of need of the department and on the request of the relevant universities. Therefore, an important step will be taken towards meeting the need for faculty members in higher education in Turkey."
Technology Transfer Office
Yekta Saraç emphasized the importance of the production of knowledge, the transformation of knowledge to technology and the commercialization of technology and said, "This legislative regulation will enable Turkish universities to establish technology transfer companies in the same status as equity companies. Turkish universities will make a significant contribution to the process of developing cooperation especially in the field of industry. As a result, especially the state universities will become more competitive."
Saraç said that academics go on sabbatical leave after their 6th year in developed and rapidly-developing countries and that they are allowed to work on projects in universities or research centers in Turkey or abroad with the permission of their universities while they continue to receive their salaries.
CoHE President said, "With this legislative regulation, the process of sabbatical leave will also be implemented in our universities. This will enable Turkish higher education institutions to increase their research capacities as well as national and international cooperation."
Employment of Postdoctoral Researchers
Saraç said that there are flexible career development profiles focused on research for the purpose of allowing people to work as postdoctoral researchers after the completion of their postdoctoral studies in developed and rapidly developing countries.
"With this legislative regulation, postdoc practices will also be implemented in Turkish universities. The research capacities of Turkish higher education institutions will be increased and it will be possible to train more people with doctorate degrees which is among the primary targets of Turkey. Those who have completed their doctoral studies will have been provided new employment opportunities in three years."
Click here to read the full transcript of the speech made by CoHE President Prof. M. A. Yekta Saraç. (in Turkish)
Click here for articles and motives related higher education that are stated in the Production Reform Package.