CoHE President Erol Özvar Shares Details about CoHE’s New Vision for Future

September 10, 2021

Prof. Erol Özvar, President of the Council of Higher Education, talked about the details of CoHE’s new vision for the future, which he shared in his first meeting with university rectors.

He pointed out at CoHE’s new vision for the future and said, “I believe that many Turkish universities could have success stories. We will use this new term to build these success stories.”

Özvar noted that the outlines of the new vision in higher education for the new term were big data in higher education, employment-oriented universities, academic productivity, strong academic performance, new models of university-industry cooperation, international interactions of Turkish universities, and the widespread use of knowledge diplomacy and said they would share the contents of these topics with the universities.

- “Big data” in higher education

CoHE President Özvar pointed out that “big data” should be understood as the collection of knowledge and data, which had been recently produced especially by institutions, and the use of these data for specific purposes. He said that the higher education institutions in the world produced knowledge and data related to education, academic studies, scientific papers and social responsibility services.

Özvar noted that not only Turkish universities but also the universities around the world were not able to protect data completely, and said, “Transforming all kinds of knowledge related to education and training, projects produced by academic staff, their courses, scientific studies and publications into data could be considered as one of the most important missions of universities. If universities can achieve this, they will then be able to base their future decisions on much more realistic knowledge and grounds. We believe that all Turkish universities should own the data they produce and expect them to use these data with new techniques that have emerged in informatics in recent years."

CoHE President Erol Özvar emphasized that universities could easily see their strong and competitive aspects if data was built with artificial intelligence, machine learning and similar opportunities, and expressed that universities would not be able to make plans for the future without data. Özvar noted that CoHE could make the right decisions about topics such as the future professions and academic careers of the youth if it examined the data and stated that, otherwise, the plans, action plans, strategies or other visions they could put forward for the future would always hang in the air.

He said that universities should start to build and complete the big data in higher education immediately and added, “It is obvious that CoHE cannot realize this vision on its own. There is no doubt that there will be universities that will act together with CoHE. In addition to universities, the relevant ministries of our State will also work with us. We want to protect the knowledge and data of Turkish universities with the relevant ministries, institutions and organizations. As a matter of fact, I am aware of the fact that various government agencies also work actively. We must use big data in order to prepare Turkish universities for global competition in a coordinated manner.”

- Academic productivity and strong academic performance

Özvar noted that they considered all types of scientific activities carried out by universities, academic staff and scientists as “academic productivity” and said, “We expect the academic staff and scientists at Turkish universities to be more productive and exert more effort. We think academic productivity must be on the agenda of universities. “Academic performance”, which has a similar meaning, is also quite important. How will administration be monitored at universities? What will be on the agenda of university administrations? We want rectors to focus on academic performance when administering their universities. In other words, we want them to administer their universities according to academic performance.”

- Employment-oriented universities

Prof. Erol Özvar underlined that the contribution of universities to employment was as important as the quality and performance of publications and added, “This topic will be one of the parameters we will use when determining the measures to be taken for improving the power of universities in national and international competition and assessing universities in the new term.”

- New models of university-industry cooperation

Özvar touched on the new models of university-industry cooperation in higher education in the new terms and said, “We will work on new models for university-industry cooperation. For instance, we will bring forward some models, which we believe are quite important, such as positioning of some departments or even faculties of some universities in industrial zones and offering education in industrial plants. We will focus on new pursuits together with our stakeholders, ministries, associations and major industrial enterprises to name a few and work on models in which both sectors are more intertwined. Thankfully, I saw the excitement of the ministries, the representatives of associations and other stakeholders that I contacted regarding this issue. We will take firmer steps on university-industry cooperation in the new term."

- International interactions of universities

CoHE President Özvar pointed out that universities determined internationalization in higher education as a goal and said, “We wish to enrich this goal with the measures that will increase the interaction of some of our institutions with prestigious international scientific spheres as well as the student and academic staff mobility that has been carried out successfully until now. We want to strengthen internationalization in the new term. We want Turkish universities to interact more closely with prestigious international scientific academies and institutions. We will hopefully share the details with the public in the coming days.”

- Widespread use of knowledge diplomacy

Özvar noted that one of the most important parameters and variables that determined the international politics of countries and their power in international relations was the role of universities in international relations and said, "When you hit a dead end in international politics, the science diplomacy of academic staff could have an unblocking and easing mission. In this respect, I would like to take this opportunity to express that Turkish higher education institutions have undertaken extremely important missions and achieved considerable success in recent years. The branches and campuses opened by Turkish higher education institutions in the Turkic world, Rumelia, and Africa make an outstanding contribution to science diplomacy. I think science diplomacy will play a more effective role in Turkey's international policy in the new term."

- "I believe that we will contribute to higher education together through close communication"

CoHE President Erol Özvar noted that they would closely follow the issues related to the new vision for higher education and said: "We will be more participatory in higher education and more open to dialogue and communication with Turkish universities in the new term. I believe that we will contribute to higher education with a more participatory governance approach in close contact with the universities. We will work together with the universities at the regional meetings organized by CoHE by taking into account their thematic fields. We will announce this plan as a program in the coming days."

- "We will create international success stories together"

Özvar commented on the discussions about Turkish higher education institutions not being in the desired places in the evaluations made by ranking institutions. He noted that Turkey was among the top 20 countries in the world in terms of the academic productivity of higher education institutions if based on the volume of scientific documents.

Erol Özvar stated that he believed the scientific and technological outputs of universities and the widespread effects of these outputs on the development of Turkey would grow drastically thanks to the new vision and policies that will be put forward for the universities in the future and said, “In addition to these measures, the new institutional incentive mechanisms developed by the Council would allow Turkish universities to accomplish the desired results. We will share the works we have been carrying out about this topic with the public.”

President Özvar emphasized that he believed every institution had the capacity and potential to become successful on the international scale and said, “I believe that many of the Turkish universities could have success stories. We will create success stories in the new term and build international success stories of Turkish universities and scientists together.”

Source : Anadolu Agency