Increasing demand for higher education, on the contrary, the inability to increase the monetary supply for the higher education at the same amount, fast economic and social change, increase in the demand of more aggravated service from the higher education institutions, urges higher education institutions be more systematic and act more strategically in their education, research and other services.
This change, is also applicable for the European level with a radical impetus, starting with the Lisbon Process which aims at developing a knowledge based society and economy.
In this framework, the intention of the European countries to develop a "European Higher Education Area" and " European Research Area" has been shaped by the Bologna Process, and have been supported and developed by the persecutor processes. Nowadays, these processes have been running with a great impetus. Within these endeavors, strengthening of the European higher education, improvement of the quality levels, development of quality assurance systems became the most important agenda items.
Within the Bologna Process, the works done in this framework was published in the"Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area" by the "European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education" (ENQA). The standards and guidelines published in the mentioned report are the pathfinder elements to the work that have been done in the process. In this connection, it is aimed to reach an increased level of quality in a comparable manner among the higher education institutions.
The quality assurance (QA) system partially established in Turkey is based on institutional evaluation, which includes annual internal assessments and post-assessment studies (review their improvement through periodical monitoring and improvement process for continuous improvement) carried out by universities and external evaluation carried out every 5 years under normal conditions. The system has also been designed to involve accreditation and evaluation elements in order to guarantee the quality assurance of learning outcomes determined on major/program basis in the scope of NQF.
The internal QA is the heart of the overall QA system for higher education in Turkey. It is believed that the developments in the field have brought about a tremendous consciousness in quality culture and change in the management of higher education institutions which recognizes the importance of internal QA procedures in the services they provide. All higher education institutions have their own publicly available five-year strategic plans published with clear measurable objectives and policies including the main issues outlined in the European Standards and Guidelines for QA in Higher Education as well as the financial planning for resource al. It has also become a regular exercise that institutions perform an annual self-assessment at beginning of each year with the results submitted to the Council of Higher Education (YÖK).
A new "Regulation on Academic Assessment and Quality Improvement at Higher Education Institutions", complying with the recommendations and criteria of the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the EHEA was enacted on September 20, 2005. The Regulation determines the principles for evaluating and improving the quality of educational, instructional and research activities and administrative services at higher education institutions, as well as approval and recognition of their level of quality through an independent external assessment. It ensures the internal assessment of academic activities and administrative services of higher education institutions, which is carried out periodically every year, starting from the beginning of 2006, and a cyclical external assessment every five years. The results of both internal and external assessments are open to the public.
Following the adoption of the regulation, the independent "Commission for Academic Assessment and Quality Improvement in Higher Education (YODEK)" with 9 members elected by the Inter-university Council – IUC (composed of the rectors and the university representatives elected by the senates of the universities) and one student member appointed by the national student union was formed. The commission is responsible for maintaining and organizing the activities related to academic assessment and quality improvements at higher education institutions within the provisions set forth by the regulation.
The related regulation aims to establish independent national external QA agencies. The independent body YODEKresponsible for implementing the regulation is also the authority to grant license to national external QA agencies. A higher education institution undergoing external assessment may obtain a "Quality Certificate" indicating its level of quality and the level of quality improvements achieved in that institution. The period of validity of the certificate is five years. The Quality Certificate may be obtained by a higher education institution at institutional level as well as at the levels of academic unit(s) or program(s) in these units.
The Commission for Academic Assessment and Quality Improvement in HE (YÖDEK) has issued standards and guidelines and defined the processes and indicators necessary for maintenance of the activities for academic assessment and quality improvement in HEIs:
These include the main processes of:
• Academic Assessment and Quality Improvement
• Strategic Planning
• Institutional Assessment (self-and environmental)
Within the scope of the regulations set up, at national level; YÖDEK and at institutional level; Academic Assessment and Quality Improvement Boards (ADEKs) are responsible for organizing, coordinating and conducting the processes.
Recently, some independent national quality agencies started to work on acquiring accredited status of external quality assurance agency. Association for Evaluation and Accreditation of Engineering Programs (MUDEK) was awarded the license for external assessment of engineering programs on 15 November 2007 and acquired an accredited status as an independent external quality assurance agency. So far, MUDEK has accredited 57 engineering programs in 10 different universities. Furthermore, there are two more sectoral agencies (for health and architecture programs) which applied to YODEK to become independent national accreditation agencies.
At present, the Turkish quality assurance system is open to evaluation from abroad – a practice widely used by many universities. As of today, 42 engineering programmes of the four Turkish universities have been evaluated by the "Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology-USA (ABET)" at different times and received "substantial equivalence" from ABET.
Regulation of Quality Assurance in Higher Education was carried into effect as published on the Official Gazette dated 23/07/2015 and with reference number 29423. With this Regulation, Higher Education Quality Board was established officially.
With the publishing of this regulation, the Regulation of Academic Evaluation and Quality Development in Higher Education Institutions published on Official Gazette dated 20/9/2005 with reference no 25942 has been repealed.
The aim of this regulation is to enact the essentials related to the authorization processes of internal-external quality assurance, accreditation processes and independent external evaluation institutions for education-training and research activities as well as administrative services of higher education institutions, and the duties, authority and responsibilities defined within this context.
Detailed info is available on http://www.yok.gov.tr/web/kalitekurulu .