Amid student protests at Boğaziçi University and criticism from the EU and the US of Turkey’s policy, the Turkish President attended a presentation of the work of the Higher Education Council in Ankara.
“Turkey’s higher education has reached a position beyond our borders”, Recep Tayyip Erdogan pointed out, adding that the number of universities in Turkey has increased from 76 to 207 and the number of staff at these institutes has increased from 70,000 to 180,000.
“Our students have an important place in this rise. The percentage of female students has increased from 42% to 49% this year”, he said, adding that Turkey is now at the top of Europe in terms of access to universities.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan also said that the number of female academics in Turkey’s higher education system is about 5% above the EU average of 40%.
“Our budget for higher education has also increased significantly, from 2.5 billion lira (USD 350 million) to 36 billion lira (about USD 5.05 billion) this year”, Erdogan added.
Continuing, the Turkish President stressed that the improvements were not only quantitative, as the government has focused particularly on quality-oriented structural transformations, adding that about 200,000 students from all over the world attend higher education in Turkey.
According to UNESCO data, the Turkish President added, Turkey is among the top 10 countries in the world in terms of enrollment of foreign students, adding that since 2001, Turkey is participating in the Bologna Process, referring to a mechanism of cooperation between 48 European countries in the field of higher education.
As part of the process, he explained, ministerial meetings are held every two to three years to evaluate the performance of all signatories and set new goals.
A report released at the last meeting of the European Higher Education Area showed that Turkey ranks first in the number of students across Europe, Erdogan said.
According to the report, Turkey is also performing better than many of its European counterparts in terms of the quality of education and the expansion of the higher education system, the Turkish President concluded./ibna