Abolishing talent tests harms arts education: Experts

Abolishing talent tests harms arts education: Experts

Esra Ülkar - ISTANBUL
Abolishing talent tests harms arts education: Experts

Arts education will be affected by the recent decision of the Higher Education Board (YÖK) to halt special talent tests for entrance to 14 university programs, experts have warned.

The YÖK decision covers higher education programs in the fields of animation, graphics, diagram and print, graphic design, fashion design, recreation, sports sciences and textile. Students will be admitted to those programs through the annual central entrance exam being held by the Student Selection and Placement Center (ÖSYM) as of 2020, according to the decision.

“The stages and types of admission tests are open to discussion. The gaps in the aptitude tests could be bridged,” said Zeynep Özatalay, an illustrator and a graduate of the Graphic Design Department at the Anadolu University Fine Arts Faculty.

“But instead of talking on these issues, now we are trying to prevent a practice which could exterminate fine arts education. Students spending four years at the fine arts high schools studying sculpture and painting are rightfully reacting against it. How would you expect the department of animation, which is based on lines and figures, or the department graphic design, which has many illustrator and designer graduates like me, to draw students with only written exams?” she told daily Hürriyet.

A student who enters a fine arts program without having the necessary talents has almost no chance to graduate and have a successful career, fashion designer Arzu Kaprol said.

“Having a talent is not just about drawing or playing an instrument. You can somehow learn how to draw, but imagination is also a skill, which you may have been possessing or not. The only way to find out if someone has that skill is holding a special talent exam,” she added.

Some artists, like animation producer Varol Yaşaroğlu, suggest that creativity tests should be done at the first stages of the education system.

“Trying to detect creativity by talent or normal tests after a certain age seems ridiculous to me,” he said.

“We should have an education system which would see the potential of the children at their early ages and help them to realize their potential,” said Yaşaroğlu.

On the other hand, YÖK defends its decision, saying that aptitude tests will continue to be held for 114 other higher education programs.

“The common feature of all these programs is that they admit students through both talent tests and the central placement system. So, it is false that these programs receive students only through special talent tests,” said YÖK chair Yekta Saraç.

“Moreover, the qualifications of the graduates of programs admitting them through the central placement system have never been a matter of debate,” he added.