Mehmet Murat BEKDİK
Editor-in-Chief
Uneducated youth in a world that gets smaller
 
I submit to your attention the article of Selçuk PEHLIVANOGLU published on 10.08.2008 in the review Business Week Turkey without any comment and without any modification.

In the studies made by the World Bank and T܋K, the percentage allocated from the GDP to education is 10.4%, private expenses taken into consideration. Therefore, Turkey allocates an important resource to education, but the basic problem is that the resources allocated to education can’t be effectively and efficiently used or misused. In Turkey, a resource of about US 10 billions $ is spent to private teaching institutions which are meant to prepare students to the exams for access to secondary and higher studies, what makes these private institutions a separate industry. We can’t neglect the fact that even a part of such a big expense would contribute a lot to the improvement of school education.

The principal competition factors like production, cost, quality and speed advantage that were dominant between 1960 and 2000 are replaced in 2000s by more abstract factors like the creativity and knowledge of the employees, their speed to access and use new information and perception of the learning as a never ending process, which are difficult for competitors to understand and to imitate. Therefore, the privileged function of the education must be to prepare a qualified workforce able to cope with the change and to efficiently cope with the challenges of the information society. And this can only be done if the speed and the quality of the education can at least meet the speed and requirements of the change in the information society.

In Turkey, which is boasting with its young population;

As of 2006, 66% of the total workforce, 66.7% of the employed work force and 59.9% of the employed workforce consist of people educated under high school level and illiterate ones.

The population of women, who are neither employed nor studying counts about 2.2 millions. Actually there are 6.1 millions of illiterate people over 15.

Around 1.142.000 children of primary education age are deprived from the right of education and the ones who go to school can’t acquire the basic skills required by the information age.

As of 2007, Turkey is 48th country among 55 countries with respect to competitive capacity.

In the “Index of Education for Everyone” prepared by UNESCO to measure the development of education, Turkey is in the 77th rank among 125 countries.

The PISA “International Student Assessment Program” study on the ability of problem solving shows that Turkey is one of the worst countries among 40 participating countries.

Unemployment level can’t be lowered below 10%.

These data clearly show where Turkish youth and therefore Turkey are in the big picture. In 2023, 70% of the population will be in working age. The uneducated youth that grows in a world that gets smaller will transform to a threat if necessary measures are not taken. Considering that we couldn’t reach to the world averages with respect to education, we need to be finally aware that the education is such an important issue that can’t be left to individual oriented and short term applications and that can’t be used as an instrument for ideological acquisitions.

The main problem about the education in Turkey is not the inadequacy of resources but ever changing policies and struggle between powers. Only a national education program prepared with the participation of all stakeholders can make Turkey a highly competitive leading country.

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