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2011, Cilt 1, Sayı 2, Sayfa(lar) 055-058
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DOI: 10.5961/jhes.2011.008
Overview of Higher Education in Turkey and Future Directions
Yüksel KAVAK
Hacettepe University, Faculty of Education, Program of Educational Administration, Supervision, Planning and Economics, ANKARA, TURKEY
Keywords: Turkey, University, Higher education, Growth in higher education, Higher education planning, Higher education indicators

Turkey has a younger population compared to European countries. Due to this structure of the population, our country is still under numerical pressure at all educational levels except from elementary education. On the other hand, a conversion in the structure of the population has been experienced since 2000, and in long term, the share of the population in higher education age in the total population is expected to decrease to 29% from 34%. According to the Human Development Report in 2010, mean year of schooling in the adult population is 6.5, fairly behind the levels of developed countries. The ratio of adult population with tertiary education in our country is 13%.

Despite the significant growth in higher education observed between 2001 and 2010, the gap between supply and demand remains important. Accordingly, except for distance education, approximately 40% of the applicants to higher education programs may have an yeropportunity to be placed. Gross enrollment rate in higher education has increased to 32% from 17%. The share of foundation universities in total higher education has approached to 10%. One important trend in the last decade is the change in the age composition. The share of students at 23 years of age and above has increased to 19% from 11%. Parallel to these developments, equilibrium between female-male students has changed in favor of females.

Higher education budget is approximately one quarter of government educational expenditures in Turkey. Although this budget may seem inadequate for higher education, the priority given to higher education compared with other educational levels is clearly observed. Public expenditure on higher education per student is 4648 USD. However, higher education expenditures are inadequate in the face of rapid growth and increasing needs. On the other hand, due to lack of data on private spending on higher education, a more detailed analysis of expenditures on higher education cannot be made.

Examining the estimates regarding the future of higher education in our country, report from a project implemented jointly by TUSIAD and the UNFPA reveals significant presumptions. According to that report, a more rapid growth than OECD countries in higher education will continue between 2010 and 2025. According to the same data, as of 2020s the enrollment rate of females in higher education is expected to exceed males. All of these developments indicate a significant competition in the field of higher education in Turkey between public universities as well as between public and foundation universities in the coming years. This competition is expected to lead to significant changes in the management of higher education in Turkey.

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