Accepted Paper:

Trials and tribulations of reformation: prologue to the futures of Turkish university education  

Author:

Levent Soysal (Kadir Has University, Istanbul)

Paper short abstract:

This paper is an attempt to develop a framework for analyzing university reform in Turkey. After an explication of the past beginning with the constitutional changes of 1960s, the paper focuses on the privatization of university education under the duress of neoliberal economies, importation of liberal arts model, and prospects of Bologna process.

Paper long abstract:

Reformation of Turkish university system has occupied a prominent place in the political agenda of the Republic since 1960s. At every turn in political regime, every ten years, there have been attempts to re-form universities, both in form and content. Constitutional changes of the 1960s envisioned the university as a semi-autonomous entity. Sixties witnessed the foundation of new universities with American style campuses, and a multitude of private universities. Approaching the seventies, against the backdrop of student protests, private and foreign universities were nationalized and 1970 military intervention ended university autonomy with a constitutional change. In the following decade, reform was again on the agenda, particularly the question of autonomy, content, and legal framework of university education. With the 1980 coup, came the Council of Higher Education, and centralization and standardization of education, both administratively and in terms of curricula. Starting with nineties, new state and foundation universities have sprung up over a wide landscape of the Republic, making Turkey a country with one of the highest number of university students in the world. Against this historical backdrop, I will attempt to develop a framework for analyzing university reform in Turkey and make projections for the prospects of Turkish university education under the under the duress of neo-liberal economies, importation of liberal arts model, and prospects of Bologna process. Of particular interest is the experience of foundation universities, and university-business cooperation, in the process of privatization and democratization of university education.

Panel W034
Anthropologies of university reform: restructuring of higher education - anthropological perspectives