Turkey’s higher education standards decline – Erdogan gov’t blamed for failure

Main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) latest report on higher education shows that alarm bells are ringing at universities as Turkey falls into the lower ranks on the list of quality education.

CHP’s science platform issued a report titled “Leaf Casting and Academic Demolition in Universities” to show how the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) policies have caused Turkey’s standard of higher education to fall behind third world countries.

CHP’s report highlights how Iran has climbed the ladder since 2002, when they were 12 positions behind Turkey, to four places higher than Turkey now.

The report shows that Turkish scientists received only 15 citations per publication on the international level and is categorized as the third most corrupt country in terms of fake journal articles and thesis published for money, followed by India and Nigeria.

Investment in higher education decreased by 42 percent

The CHP report indicates that the budget allocated to Turkey’s universities in 2019 decreased by 42 percent compared to the allocation in 2018.

In 2002, the student-professor ratio was 120:1 and in 2018 the ratio was 157:1. In the 2013/14 period, the ratio of PhD students to undergraduate students had approached 5 percent, but this rate decreased to 4.3 percent in the 2017/18 period.

According to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) 2017- 2018 Competitiveness Report, which is included in the CHP report, one of the most shocking findings was that Turkey’s quality of higher education had declined, being placed at 101st place out of 137 countries.

Turkey is in 66th place in terms of Research and Development (R&D) partnerships between universities and industries. Pakistan, Jordan and Ghana perform better in R&D partnerships than Turkey, according to the report.

No Turkish universities in The World Best 500 lists

Professor Fethi Açıkel, the deputy head of the CHP, who announced the report, lambasted the AKP government accusing them of being responsible for Turkish universities no longer being high in the world’s best lists.  Acikel explained that according to Higher Education University Ranking 2019, no Turkish universities could be found in world’s top 500 university lists. Middle East Technical ranked 85th, Bosphorus 139th, and four other universities were listed in the top 350 list of 2015, he said.

“As a result of the 17 year-long AKP rule, the decline in all areas in our country has directly affected our universities and academic life. Erdogan’s ‘palace regime’ created an academy result that has fallen day by day in the unqualified and global leagues.

“Our universities, which have great importance in the history of Turkish modernization, have been condemned to the administrations which are far from merit, and, finally, their institutional accumulation has been liquidated. Our universities’ world rankings are declining day by day. The responsibility for this decline is the palace regime.

“As the CHP, we will make the universities free of political and administrative tutelage, and allow these institutions to do science, modernization, and development again. In Turkey, we will re-establish merit in universities and we will introduce ‘University Fourth Industrial Revolution’ for the Industry,” Açıkel said.

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