Being 99th in quality education

Being 99th in quality education

According to the World Economic Forum, Turkey is 99th when it comes to quality education. Sweden is at the top. Singapore is second and Finland ranks in third. Although this index is about the quality of education right now, it is an indication about the future of countries it ranks. It does not mean low-ranking countries will be poorer or will be doing much worse in the long run because there are many different issues affecting the well-being of a country other than the quality of education. However, it tells us the probability of that bleak future happening is greater in low ranking countries than in higher-ranking ones.

For example, let’s think about Turkey. If we decide to invest heavily in software development today, if we invest a sizeable portion of our GDP in this cause, in 10 years, software developers we can educate might not be able to compete globally because they will lack fundamental education in some key areas, like mathematics.

Education is of utmost importance to any country but it is especially imperative to a country such as Turkey where the population is younger than most European countries.

Turkey is competing globally and has the ambition to be among the top 10 economies in the world by 2023. In order achieve this goal, Turkey must climb up the education quality indexes very fast.

I had written this before but I want to repeat, we cannot change our place in these type of indexes if we do not radically change our views on education.

Turkey does not have the luxury of Sweden and Finland, where the number students are relatively much smaller than Turkey. There are 7.56 million university students in Turkey. The whole student population is over 17 million people.

That is 7 million more people than the entire populations of Finland and Norway put together.

So, how can we better educate teachers to teach these millions of students? How can we provide adequate school facilities?

It is a daunting task. And we are not doing very well with this task.

I suggest we create a board of the best educators and e-learning companies, and start creating e-learning content to be used all around Turkey. It is the only feasible way I can think to distribute good quality education to all students around Turkey. This was the essence of the Fatih project but it was never realized. Maybe it is time to think about the Fatih Project again.

Ersu Ablak, Education, World Economic Forum