​ CoHE President Özvar: "I address our universities: Support your international students. The internationalization of higher education is one of Türkiye's key strategic objectives included in the Development Plans."

"We have prepared the “Ethics Guidebook on the Productive Use of Artificial Intelligence in Scientific Research and Publishing Activities in Higher Education Institutions”, which will be sent to the universities next week."

"We want universities to diverge rather than resemble each other. We observe that productivity, efficiency, and collaboration increase with the differentiation of universities."

April 20, 2024 / Bursa

CoHE President Erol Özvar paid a visit to Bursa to attend the search conference hosted by Bursa Technical University (BTU) and to engage in various meetings.

He first visited Bursa Technical University, where he received information from Rector Prof. Naci Çağlar about the ongoing activities and academic endeavors of the university. Then he participated in the university's senate meeting.

At the search conference themed "What Will BTU Look Like in 2030?", Özvar delivered the opening speech. In his speech titled "The Future Vision of Turkish Higher Education”, Özvar stated they had been working intensively for Turkish higher education to make it competitive, innovative, sustainable, and high-quality on a global scale. He stated that any views and suggestions put forward would contribute to their efforts in this direction.

He said that CoHE had been working to create an innovative and competitive higher education system that embraces a quality-focused and academic performance-based management approach, encourages diversity, supports university-industry collaboration models, and is attentive to national, regional, and global issues.

He emphasized that it was extremely important for a state university to ask the question "Where should the university aim at?” concerning its future prospects. "We value and support all efforts made by our universities to make them stronger, more competitive, and productive," he stated.

"We have prepared an ethics guidebook for the productive use of artificial intelligence."

Özvar said that artificial intelligence, digitalization, and big data were extremely strategic issues for Türkiye, and that they continued their efforts in these areas. He said that they prepared the “Ethics Guidebook on the Productive Use of Artificial Intelligence in Scientific Research and Publishing Activities in Higher Education Institutions” with the contributions of expert academics. He said that they would send the guidebook, which was approved by CoHE General Assembly, to the universities next week. He further elaborated that the guidebook was prepared to inform higher education institutions about the risks and opportunities of rapidly advancing productive AI usage in all fields, helping them understand, evaluate, and take precautions against risks.

“Our goal is to rank among the top five countries in the world in terms of international student numbers."

Özvar emphasized the importance of internationalization for the Council and universities, stating, "I want to address our universities: Embrace your international students. Internationalization of higher education is one of Türkiye's fundamental strategic goals outlined in the Development Plans."

He noted that nearly 350,000 international students from 198 different countries were pursuing higher education in Türkiye. "Our country has become one of the top 10 countries in the world with the highest number of international students, turning higher education into a global educational hub. Our aim is to rank among the top five in this field. International students from various parts of the world have the opportunity to continue their education peacefully and harmoniously in our country," he said.

"I regret to say that there has been a strong negative perception towards international students lately. Approximately 95% of international students in Türkiye are financing their education and return to their home countries as voluntary ambassadors of our nation. The presence of international students does not result in any loss of rights for Turkish students. Therefore, considering international students as irregular migrants or immigrants is a misguided approach. It is of great importance to avoid all kinds of unfounded words, actions, or comments that will hinder our universities from becoming international centers of attraction."

Following the conference, Özvar visited the Research Center for Robotics and Intelligent Systems at Bursa Technical University which is specializing in robotics and intelligent systems. He also had talks with both Turkish and international students.

"A higher education management that does not take student expectations into account cannot be successful."

Özvar also visited Bursa Uludağ University and received information about the ongoing activities at the university from Rector Prof. Ferudun Yılmaz. He engaged in discussions with academics as well. "Student expectations are changing. A higher education management that does not take these expectations into account cannot be successful neither on a national nor on a university scale. Therefore, university administrators are obliged to consider students' expectations, desires, and dreams. There are sometimes objections arising regarding this issue at state universities. We are ready to provide any kind of support. We observe innovative initiatives in different parts of the world where student expectations are highlighted. This issue has now become an important parameter," he noted.

As part of his visits, Özvar paid a visit to Bursa Governor Mahmut Demirtaş in his office. Additionally, he toured the Hünkar Pavilion, which was built as a hunting lodge by Mehmet Salih Pasha, the governor of Bursa, for the visit of Sultan Abdülmecit in 1844.

During Özvar's visit to Bursa, he was accompanied by CoHE Executive Board members, members Prof. Erol Arcaklıoğlu and Prof. Hüseyin Karaman.