Office-like private universities raise concerns about education

Office-like private universities raise concerns about education

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Office-like private universities raise concerns about education

Many newly established universities hold their classes in office space or apartment buildings located in industrial zones or right next to highways. Radikal photo

With the number of private universities in Istanbul rising sharply, educators are warning against a potential drop in academic standards due to commercial considerations.

While the number of state universities in Istanbul is reported to be nine, the number of private universities has reached 34, according to reports. Such a number has also brought physical changes to education settings, as many of these universities are not situated in campus settings but rather in office buildings located in industrial areas.

Some of the universities also offer discount options on internet flash sale sites. One of these is the newly established Nişantaşı University, which offers a 50 percent discount option on 15 different programs in its vocational school.

According to İsa Eşme, an educator and the former vice-president of Turkey’s top education board, such strategies negatively affect the quality of education.

“The problem is not in the rise of the numbers, but the drop in the quality,” Eşme told the Hürriyet Daily News. “Many universities in Europe today do not have campus settings either, but what matters is the quality of their education standards and academics,” he said.

Many of the newly established universities give their education in office spaces or in apartment buildings located in neighborhoods of Istanbul, instead of on campus sites. One such university is Üsküdar University in Istanbul’s Nakkaştepe district. One of the university’s two buildings is located in between apartments in the city’s Anatolian district. 

Another private university, Gedik University, is surrounded by business offices in an industrial zone. Similarly, Kemerburgaz University is located right in the middle of a wholesalers’ district in İkitelli, Istanbul.

According to another educator İsmail Koncuk, the head of the Türk Eğitim-Sen union, the rise in the university quotas is normal, but the academic standard should be well controlled.

“Turkey’s population is increasing every year. Consequently, we need more universities every year. But the academic standards should not be sacrificed for the sake of more schools,” Koncuk said.

There are currently 170 universities in Turkey. While 103 of them are state schools, some 72 are private. Over 1.8 million students across Turkey took the University Entrance Examination (YGS) this year in Turkey.