New CoHE Implements New Projects and Arrangements in 2020
December 29, 2020
- “The New CoHE proceeds with its concrete actions, implemented
projects, and arrangements with results rather than brilliant and
sophisticated statements, prospective designs, highly rhetorical
drafts, and intellectual statements on higher education.”
- “Since the New CoHE started to transfer its authority, it no longer
deals with details. Instead of complaining about the current laws, it
uses the potentials of the legislation in a rational manner. It has
become an institution that makes and implements higher education
policies by adopting a strong coordination-flexible management style."
- “We realized many projects such as the establishment of Higher
Education Quality Board, Mission Differentiation and Specialization in
Higher Education Project, YÖK 100/2000 PhD Project, Target-Oriented
Internationalization, University-Industry Collaboration, Digital
Transformation in Higher Education, Open Science and Open Access
Project, Preservation of Academic Heritage in the Middle East Project,
Future Professions Project, and YÖK Academic Project and shared the
results of these works with the public. As the New CoHE, we added new
projects in 2020.”
- "As the New CoHE, we believe that higher education should be an area
of social consensus and we work for it."
- “We are a public institution and we serve the public. We attach
importance to being accountable in a transparent way as per our
understanding of serving the public. Therefore, we are sharing the
highlights of the new and innovative initiatives and projects, which we
have carried out outside of the routine work within our job description
- “CoHE has changed.
It has changed and renewed in every field with its goals, methods,
notion of higher education, business manner and priorities. Now, the
New CoHE is changing the Turkish higher education system.”
- We present you some of the projects and arrangements we realized as
the New CoHE in 2020. We will continue to gradually restructure Turkish
higher education according to our plans in 2021.”
Prof. M. A. Yekta Saraç
President of the Council of Higher Education
1- A new era in employment of academics with “YÖK-Future Project”
In addition to the current procedures for the employment of academic staff
at universities, the New CoHE introduced a new employment method with the
“YÖK Future Project” by taking into account transparency, merit and equal
opportunity. The project, which was designed for the first time in Turkey
and started to be implemented in the last months of 2020, will consist of
a) Within the scope of the " Employment of Research Assistants in Priority Fields", the
first stage of the project, additional positions were allocated to
universities for the employment of research assistants in interdisciplinary
fields that are important in the development of our country.
b) The second stage of the project was the “ Employment of Faculty Members in Priority Fields.” At this
stage, the successful departments of universities in “critical technology
fields”, which are determined as priority and specific fields, were matched
with these fields. These universities were granted with additional permits
for the appointment of academic staff in the fields known as “critical
technologies” in the world.
While the additional permits for the appointments were limited due to it
being the first implementation, YÖK Future Project stood out for being an
example of the pursuit that prioritizes fields and needs, rather than
individuals, and for paying attention to the inclusion of people at least 4
times the number of positions for each position in the system. The number
of allocated positions will be increased in 2021.
c) The “YÖK Career-Merit Project”, which will bring a new
vision to the employment of academic staff at universities, will be the
third stage of the project. This project will be realized as the first
project of the new year and it will be a different era in terms of the
employment of academics at universities.
2- Opportunity to conduct experiments on computer at home with the “YÖK
Virtual Laboratory Project”
The general chemistry and general physics laboratory courses in various
programs of universities, especially in science and engineering faculties
and vocational schools, started to be offered online with the “YÖK Virtual
Laboratory Project”. At first, the project was offered to 15 thousand
students at 24 universities that are a part of the Digital Transformation
3- Online courses through “YÖK Courses Platform”
Within the scope of the "YÖK Courses Project", which was one of the goals
of the New CoHE for 2020, the digital courses created by Anadolu
University, Atatürk University, Istanbul University and Middle East
Technical University were made available to university students on the
“YÖK Courses Platform” (Courses for Higher Education Institutions).
The content of these universities was offered through the 6 GB internet data for distance education which was provided
for free by mobile operators.
4- Universities were added to “Mission Differentiation and
Specialization Aimed at Regional Development Project”
The process for the determination of five universities and their fields of
specialization for the title “Universities Aimed at Regional Development”
under the “Specialization in Higher Education Project” was completed and
the number of universities in the project rose to 15. Artvin Çoruh University was selected for “Medical and
Aromatic Plants”, Bartın University was selected for
“Smart Logistics and Integrated Regional Practices”, Hitit University was selected for “Machine and
Manufacturing Technologies”, Kırklareli University was
selected for “Food”, and Yozgat Bozok University was
selected for “Industrial Hemp.”
5- Assessment reports on universities was published
a) The Council of Higher Education published the report “Foundation Higher Education Institutions 2020”, which
includes the academic, administrative and financial data on Turkish
foundation higher education institutions.
b) The Council of Higher Education (CoHE) announced the “University Monitoring and Assessment General Reports”,
which contain a general assessment of 189 Turkish universities for 2020 and
172 Turkish universities for 2019 according to five main indicators and 45
c) The performance scorecards, in which the research and
candidate research universities that were determined under the
Specialization in Higher Education Project were evaluated and ranked, were
announced to the public.
As the New CoHE, we attach importance to transparent data sharing to raise
the quality bar and believe that public inspection is the most efficient
6- CoHE’s works on coronavirus measures
Turkish universities were asked to determine a vice rector to carry out the
procedures related to coronavirus and a continuous and direct relationship
was established between CoHE and universities. In addition, “ Coronavirus Committees” (KOVKOM) were established at
As part of the COVID-19 measures, CoHE prepared the " New Normalization Process in the Global Pandemic Guide”
for the practices at universities during the pandemic, published the “
Guide for the Development of Healthy and Clean Environments in Higher
Education Institutions in terms of the Global Pandemic
", in cooperation with the Turkish Standards Institute (TSE) and with the
contributions of the academics from different universities, and
communicated these guides to universities.
The “Committee on Distance Education Policies” was
established under the Council of Higher Education with the participation of
academics from different disciplines of various Turkish universities, who
are experts in distance education. The Council sent the decisions, which
include a series of measures for students with disabilities when preparing
online courses and contents for distance education as part of the
coronavirus measures, to universities. The website “ Briefing on COVID-19” was opened to announce the works and
decisions of CoHE that were made during the pandemic.
7- Turkish higher education system switched to hybrid (blended)
The blended (hybrid) education model was introduced to
Turkish higher education. The rate of courses that can be offered through
distance learning in the programs at Associate, Bachelor’s and Master’s
degree level in formal education was increased from 30% to 40%. Thus, the structural transformation of
the New CoHE in higher education moved to a different level after the
implementation of the hybrid learning model which was implemented in many
8- The rational quota policy continued to increase the occupancy rates
As a result of the rational plans made by CoHE in the program quotas, the
occupancy rates at universities after the placements according to the
results of 2020-YKS has increased significantly in all subjects and
categories and reached 95%. In parallel with this
development, the number of unused quotas continued to decrease. The
positive results of the YKS system has emerged as a result of the merge of
the realities of Turkey and the universal practices.
9- New scholarship opportunities for students
This year, the scope of the YÖK Support Scholarship, which was given to
programs such as basic sciences, agriculture and fisheries, was expanded
and Philosophy was included in the scholarship program. It
was decided that successful students, who chose these programs as one of
their top 15 choices and are placed in the top three at state universities,
would be awarded with the scholarship.
The protocol signed between CoHE and Istanbul Mineral Exporters’
Association (IMEA) aims to grant scholarships to successful students to
attract them to the mining sector, to increase the number of internships
and to provide employment to students after graduation. Within the scope of
this cooperation, candidates started to receive scholarships up to the
amount of the minimum wage according to their placements and preferences in
the university exam. CoHE aims to increase the number of scholarships and
employment opportunities by cooperating with other sectors next year.
10- The record increase in international student numbers allowed us to
be in the top ten in the world
The plans that the New CoHE has done under its policy for “Target-Oriented Internationalization” for the first time
in internationalization also continue to bear fruit. After the preparation
of the first “Strategy Document for Internationalization in Higher
Education”, the number of international students from 182 countries, who
receive education in our country, has exceeded 200 thousand. It was noted that this record
increase rate had not been observed in any European country in recent
years. This figure is expected to exceed 220 thousand in 2021.
The success of the New CoHE on this issue was also recognized by
According to the data of UNESCO for 2018, the number of international
students in Turkey, which was 48 thousand 183 in 2014, increased by two and
a half times and rose to 125 thousand 138 and
Turkey was placed in the top 10 countries that attract the highest
number of international students in the world
. Turkey's share from the total number of international students has
increased by 110% during the first four years of the New CoHE. This rate
will be higher with the inclusion of the data for the last two years in the
UNESCO reports for the next year.
11- Arrangements to attract qualified students to our country
Important arrangements were made to invite Turkish students studying abroad
and international students to study in Turkey during the pandemic. The 50% limitation on the transfers from the programs of
overseas universities, excluding the programs of Medicine, Dentistry,
Pharmacy, Law, Teaching, Engineering and Architecture, which require
students to have academic standing for the entrance to higher education, was lifted and these programs were allowed to allocate
quotas for transfers from overseas universities as many as the quotas for
transfers from Turkish universities. CoHE provided convenience for the
transfers from the universities that are ranked in the top 1,000 in the
world university rankings with the aim of allowing qualified students to
study in Turkey.
12- National and International Virtual Fairs
CoHE took some decisions to prevent the global pandemic from adversely
affecting the international student flow to our country and organized the
virtual higher education fair “ Study in Turkey YÖK Virtual Fair 2020”. Nearly 40 thousand
visitors from 165 countries had the opportunity to meet with the
representatives of higher education institutions in a virtual environment
and get detailed information from them.
“Discover Your University YÖK Virtual Fair 2020”
, a virtual fair similar to the one organized for international students,
was held under the coordination of CoHE for prospective Turkish students
and their parents with the participation of 200 higher education
13- “YÖK 100/2000 PhD Project”, a Turkey project, continues apace
Within the scope of the “YÖK 100/2000 PhD Project”, a Turkey project which
was realized for the first time in the 2016-2017 academic year with the
slogan “Training Powerful Generations for the Next Decade”, the number of
students doing their doctorate in 100 priority fields needed by Turkey has
reached 5 thousand as of this year.
Considering the new conditions and needs especially during the global
pandemic, CoHE determined 22 pandemic-oriented fields by identifying the
fields needed for the pandemic and announced the
special call for YÖK 100/2000 PhD Scholarship for the pandemic
. In the fight against the pandemic in our country, approximately 800
doctoral scholarship holders made a great contribution especially to the
studies on vaccines and medicine in terms of trained
As CoHE added three new scientific fields, namely “energy storage”, “power
electronics” and “motor technologies”, to the “YÖK 100/2000 PhD Project” to
train people with doctorates that will be needed for the production of the
project “Turkey’s Automobile”, it also included seven
scientific fields, including submarine designs, legged and biomechanical
robots, satellite design, and radar and stealth technologies, in the
project to contribute to Turkey’s domestic and national technological move in the
14- Digital Transformation in Higher Education
In recent years, CoHE has been carrying out works on digital system and
open data sharing, and many innovative implementations have been
implemented in the digital environment in the field of higher education.
The digitalization works that were initiated by CoHE at universities before
the pandemic were of great help for distance education.
Under the "Digitalization in Higher Education Project",
the number of universities rose from 16 to 24 andover 60 thousand students and 10 thousand academic staff were trained for digital
As part of the cooperation in digital education between CoHE and Cisco,
academics selected from 24 universities that are located in Anatolia and
included in the “Digitalization in Higher Education Project” were awarded
with certificates for completing their courses on cyber security and network management.
The third phase of the project will continue with the addition of 30 universities from Anatolia.
In addition to the services offered by CoHE through the E-government
Gateway, CoHE also started to work on a new system that will deliver transcripts issued by universities in a standard format.
15- Works on “Open Science and Open Access”
The New CoHE continues to work on “ Open Science and Open Access”. The works on Open Science
and Open Access, which were initiated with the motto “Digitalized CoHE”,
aim to establish the “National Academic Open Access System” at international
standards at Turkish universities. The system will allow open access to
researchers by ensuring the bibliographic audit of postgraduate theses,
articles, books, conference proceedings, and other publications written as
a result of scientific activities at Turkish universities.
16- Legal arrangements made in Higher Education Law with the initiative
The bill, which was passed in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, is the
second law package that includes structural changes related to higher
education following the amendments that were adopted in the Production
Reform Package in 2016 with the proposals of CoHE and were welcomed by the
As a result of the removal of the limitation on the applications and exams
for associate professorship to be made more than twice a year by law,the waiting period for associate professor candidates was shortened. Research assistants working under 50/d
contract, who have completed their master's degree, were required to wait
for a certain amount of time before they begin their doctoral studies or
studies in proficiency in arts related to their fields. In order to prevent
students from getting affected negatively during this process, they were
allowed to keep their positions for another six months.
It was decided that a certain amount of the surplus income of the faculties
of open education would be spent on the scholarships granted by CoHE to
train people with doctoral degrees.
The disciplinary provisions were also rearranged
in compliance with this law. Some acts that were considered as criminal
acts according to the current disciplinary regulations were decriminalized
and the sentences of some of these acts were reduced. Stiffer sentences
were only limited to crimes related to plagiarism.
17- Important legal arrangements for foundation higher education
The second law package consisting of legal changes about higher education
also includes articles that meet the expectations of the community and the
academic staff working at these universities. According to the package, the
fees paid to academic staff working at foundation universities
cannot be lower than their counterparts working at state universities
Academic staff at Turkish foundation universities will be able to get a green passport on the condition that they complete a
certain number of years of service. Trust funds will be
introduced to foundation universities.
The rate of the scholarships offered by foundation universities
was increased from 10% to 15% by the decision of CoHE.
With CoHE’s initiative, around 12 thousand more students had the
opportunity to study for free at foundation universities compared to last
year. These arrangements show the attitude of the New CoHE that gives
importance to social justice and equal opportunities.
18- The collaboration model was introduced to the Turkish higher
education system for the first time
Within the scope of the legal arrangement adopted with the initiative of
the New CoHE, the first model in Turkish higher education that aims to make
efficient use of public resources through the joint R&D efforts of the leading
universities on strategic issues, was realized. Two or more universities
will now be able to combine their human resources and infrastructure
facilities into a single research and application center. This is a new
structural change that the New CoHE has made in the higher education
system. As a first step, " Neuroscience and Neurotechnology Center of Excellence"
(NÖROM) was established for the R&D activities to be carried out with
the cooperation of Gazi University, Ankara University and Middle East
Technical University after the approval of CoHE.
19- New arrangements to pave way for research
CoHE made some fundamental changes in the Regulation on Scientific Research Projects (BAP), which it
has been working on for a long time. According to these changes, experts
from or outside of higher education institutions, who specialize in
scientific research projects and have at least a PhD degree, could be paid
fees for project evaluation. Cash or in-kind contribution could be
transferred from BAP funds to scientific research projects supported by
national or international institutions and organizations, provided that it
does not exceed 30% of the project cost.
Project supports will be inserted into YÖKSİS to ensure effective,
economic and efficient use of scientific research projects and fund
transfers and to use the interest of the funds in the BAP budget for
The responsibilities and audit rules for those who take part in scientific
research projects were clearly defined.
20- Quality-oriented arrangements in the employment of international
CoHE completed the quality-oriented works related to international faculty
members and sent the circular letter determining the
“Procedures and Principles Regarding the Employment of International
to universities. According to the letter, international academic staff that
are employed as foreign instructors in language preparatory classes of
universities are required to have language teaching experience. In addition, it was decided
that those who will teach in programs other than preparatory classes are
required to have academic achievement and experience. The
arrangement aims to bring research-oriented, competent scientists to Turkey
during the employment of international academic staff.
21- The New CoHE continues to delegate its authority: “A historic
decision for the curricula of education faculties”
Within the scope of the delegation of authority, which has been carried out
by the New CoHE, the authority for the determination of courses, curricula
and credits of the teaching undergraduate programs at the faculties of
education/educational sciences were completely transferred to universities.
22- Incentives and support for the industrial education of science and
With the support and resources of the Government, 3,679 students enrolled
in science and engineering undergraduate programs at 24 state universities
were supported for industrial education for the fall
semester of the 2019-2020 academic year.
23 - Great financial support to vocational schools located in organized
Again, with the support of the Government, 2,839 students enrolled in 16
programs related to the sectors of manufacturing and logistics in 11
vocational schools that were established in the organized industrial zone
were provided with an average of 5,000 TL per student apart from the
general school budget
for the 2019-2020 academic year.
24- Apart from the major and minor specialties in clinical (medical)
branches, clinical practice-oriented graduate programs were opened for
the first time in subjects that require science and technology
In this way, specialist physicians with increased competence will raise the quality bar in scientific activities through
education and training in clinical sciences. These programs are also interdisciplinary. This opportunity, which was introduced
to the system, offers an appealing opportunity to international students
abroad without providing the authorization to perform a profession in our