Turkish Language and Literature Workshop Takes Place at CoHE

September 19, 2017 / Ankara


The Council of Higher Education organized a "Turkish Language and Literature Workshop" with the participation of the heads of the related departments in Turkish universities in order to discuss the current situation of the Departments of Turkish Language and Literature.


CoHE President Prof. Dr. M. A. Yekta Saraç chaired the workshop which was held for the first time at CoHE. CoHE members Prof. Dr. Mehmet Şişman, Prof. Dr. Hayati Develi, CoHE officials, the deans of Faculties of Arts, heads of the Departments of Turkish Language and Literature participated in the workshop.


They discussed the current situation of the Departments of Turkish Language and Literature and the expectations from these departments according to the changing national and international conditions. CoHE President Prof. Dr. M. A. Yekta Saraç made the opening speech.


CoHE President started his speech by greeting his colleagues as a Turkish Language and Literature lecturer and talked briefly about the innovations and projects they have realized in Turkish Higher Education during his term of office.


He stated that the courses in undergraduate and graduate programs in the departments of Turkish Language and Literature in Turkey were almost identical and expressed his thoughts on the workshop topic.


CoHE President noted that the history of literature was mostly the last subject taught in literature courses in the academic term and said, "Historical events, authors and the lives and works of poets should be taught in chronological order in the courses for old Turkish literature, new Turkish literature and Turkish folk literature. However, conveying historical facts to students from the books about the history of literature is taking the easy way out. Reading is an activity that students can do on their own."


Saraç emphasized that it would be better to develop courses with visual materials that will enable more opportunities and time for the transfer of the spirit, richness and colors of the literature. He added that organizing poetry nights and student symposiums and having livelier, more social and fun courses by doing activities such as inviting contemporary poets to the new Turkish literature classes have become a necessity in order to draw the attention of young people who were lost in entertainment and social media.


CoHE President Saraç stated that elective courses and seminars such as "the culture of poems", "copywriting" and "writing" would encourage students who enrolled in the Departments of Turkish Language to develop their skills after writing a few poems and essays in high school and to become writers/poets/thinkers and said:


"It is essential to make computers a part of the courses. That is because it is not possible for a lecturer to get the attention of students by talking to them from a stand in an era when mobile phones are the best friends of students. Images, documentaries and short videos will enrich the courses and increase their effectiveness. The courses should be integrated/parallel to the West or East according to the related field. For instance, Fuzûlî and Shakespeare both lived in the 16th century. When we were talking about pain, they were talking about happy lives. When we were compiling books of diwan poetry, they were placing emphasis on theatre. It must not be a burden for faculty members to talk about these subjects as both academics and students must be familiar with them in the globalizing world. Scholars must always have a wide horizon and be aware of their mission. Because a student knows as much as his teacher does. In addition, the methods and techniques for comparative literature are used more frequently in undergraduate education in the fields of language and literature. In this regard, Turkish academics should also read scientific papers. We also should not forget that we cannot walk on foot when the world moves rapidly."


President Saraç noted that academics should carry out projects consisting of great and valuable ideas that can produce scientific and concrete results with students for the course of graduation thesis available in most departments. He said, "Even these theses could be turned into graduation projects, BAB projects and TUBITAK projects as these institutions offer project support to 4th year students. They can do computer-aided projects that are inspired by projects such as TEIS and TEBDIZ and we can make use of students whom we supervise the theses of in the 4th year. Many works in old and new writing can be transferred to digital format."


He stated that graduate and doctoral education were among the other problems and emphasized that one of the most important initiatives for graduate and doctoral education in Turkish literature should be to give reading lists that consist of the most important works in the field at the beginning of the academic year and to check these lists once a month.


CoHE President Saraç said that nearly 10% of the students who graduated from a class consisting an average of 100 students were appointed to MEB with their KPSS scores and that 4% of them became lecturers or academics. He also noted that they expected to receive some suggestions from the participants for the remaining 85%.


CoHE President Saraç added that CoHE would coordinate the process related to the studies to be carried out for the specialization of the Departments of Turkish Language and Literature in line with the needs of Turkey and the region and concluded his speech by thanking the participants.


Click here to read the full transcript of the speech made by CoHE President Prof. M. A. Yekta Saraç. (In Turkish)


Following the speech of CoHE President Saraç, two sessions entitled "General View: The Current Situation of the Departments of Turkish Language and Literature" and "Expectations from the Departments of Turkish Language and Literature According to the Changing National and International Conditions" were held.


The current situation and general view of the Departments of Turkish Language and Literature were evaluated in the first session of the workshop. In the second session, the expectations from the Departments of Turkish Language and Literature according to the changing national and international conditions were discussed in detail.


After the sessions, CoHE President Saraç attended the closing of the workshop. He exchanged opinions with the representatives of the departments and listened to their proposals regarding the workshop topics and the agreed points.