Low chance for a new law on universities
ABBAS GÜÇLÜThe chances of the new Higher Education Board (YÖK) draft being passed in Parliament are not even 1 percent. The reason is that such a demand has not come from the government, and because of that, it is not possible for them to support it and bring it to Parliament.
I have asked about this to both YÖK President Gökhan Çetinsaya and Education Minister Ömer Dinçer. Çetinsaya hasn’t said, “Yes, such a demand came from the government,” and Dinçer hasn’t said, “Yes, we want it,” either. Let’s assume that since such a draft has arrived and that there was a decision to work on it: It would then require an amendment to the Constitution. In other words, before the Constitution is changed, it is not possible to change the YÖK law – especially the amendments suggested in the draft.
Well, is it possible to make a constitutional change in this respect?
The Constitution Conciliation Commission made up of all the political parties is working on changes to the entire Constitution. In other words, it seems very difficult to make a constitutional change for YÖK or any other singular topic. Besides, even if the government consents to such a change, it would be very difficult for the opposition parties to say yes. In other words, YÖK has been flogging a dead horse for months.
Çetinsaya flew into the YÖK Presidency out of the “Kayseri quota.” He knows this just as everybody else does. As a matter of fact, it is rumored that he has seen some reaction from the government wing because of this. For this reason, he has been in search of moves that the government would like. He has lifted a ban on headscarves, he has removed coefficients, and he has done more than what the government asked for. Like turkeys voting for an early Christmas, even though he knew it would not pass, he worked to formulate a legal basis for an end to restrictions on headscarves in private and state universities because he wants to look good to the government.
Of course, you will ask, which civil servant does not do the same thing?
They would of course do so; nobody opposes that, because the sources of financing are in the government’s hand. Nevertheless, at least, he could have asked for more for universities, the faculty and students.
He did not do that. I wish it were the students, faculty members and those people who believe in science, knowledge and education who applauded the new proposal the most.
The YÖK draft has been debated for months. Çetinsaya visited almost every institution and explained the content to each. Universities submitted their views. Teachers and students also, through the Internet, were involved in the YÖK debate. However, apparently, these views were not particularly taken into account, especially on the topic of the foreign language threshold for academic promotions.
Any trust in allowing universities to enjoy administrative and financial autonomy is also out of the question. YÖK stays as YÖK, although its structure is changing. But the most important thing amid the restructuring of YÖK and the Interuniversity Council would have been to consider the changes based on 250 universities and make plans for the administrative organs according to that. But this was also overlooked.
It has many shortcomings. Even if it had been prepared more in detail, nothing would have changed again; there would have also been shortcomings.
Because of this, maybe a new law with only a few articles should have been suggested to open the way for universities to develop in line with their own missions and visions.
The (original) YÖK law has been criticized since the day it went into effect. There is no other law that has been this repulsive and been the object of so much desire for change.
For the last 30 years, without exception, in the election declarations of all political parties, there were clauses about the amendment of the YÖK law or its complete abolition. However, regardless of what party took power, instead of abolishing YÖK, they chose to use this power in favor of themselves.
It was the ruling Justice and Development Party (Ak Party) which criticized YÖK the most. In their 10 years of power, they could have changed it 10 times if they had wanted to. YÖK could have been included in that package in the referendum. But they party never wanted that. We don’t think it will ever do so from now on. Because whatever they want, YÖK gives them more.
A summary of the summary: Without autonomous and productive universities, we can neither be an information society nor play in the global first league. If all of us genuinely want this, instead of losing time with “pleasing” drafts, we should, as soon as possible, prepare real laws…