There have been many responses to the two articles that I have written lately; namely, “Fighting and cooperating” and “Will technology save our education system?”

“In Fighting and cooperating,” I wrote about the issues of discussion in between Mehmet Emin Karamehmet and TeliaSonera. TeliaSonera has stated that the claims against it as part of the KCell incident has been proven to be false and sent the statement below:

 “Following certain whistleblower allegations received in October 2010 and February 2011, alleging corruption in the business of Kcell in Kazakhstan, TeliaSonera appointed Ernst & Young to carry out an independent investigation into these allegations.

Ernst & Young, a highly reputable firm of auditors, has now finalized the report on the investigation and has not identified any evidence that supports the alleged wrongdoing.

“TeliaSonera has investigated the allegations very thoroughly, both internally and by appointing external auditors, and found no evidence of any misconduct in Kcell. The attempted discrediting of Kcell and TeliaSonera by Çukurova forms part of a black PR campaign to move the focus away from the real issue at hand, namely the governance of Turkcell. Therefore, this report should put an end to Çukurova’s allegations and we will hold them accountable for any damage their actions may have caused the various parties concerned, including Turkcell and all its shareholders,” said Cecilia Edstrom, head of group communications at TeliaSonera.

“TeliaSonera is determined to initiate legal action against any parties that may want to repeat attempts to discredit TeliaSonera’s management, operations and reputation through the publication of false and insinuating allegations,” she said.

I am sure that we will hear about old and new issues from both sides as well.

The responses to the article “Will technology save our education system?” varied enormously. Many people pointed out some facts that I had left untouched. A guest to our website who named himself/herself as Friend of Turks stated that we could not blame the government for the bad results on the PISA but the children themselves. Another guest, Dr. P, also wrote that there were parallel problems in the United States, namely in the “delusion that [the] problems of society can be buried under piles of other peoples’ money. Smart equipment run by dolts trying to train disinterested children of disinterested parents doesn’t magically produce scholars.”

Another guest named Babadog wrote that “What is missing in Turkey’s education is a talented elite breed of educators who are well-trained and who can effectively achieve results. The social status of teachers must be sufficiently elevated to attract talented graduates into the teaching field.”

However, the most comprehensive response came from Alan Constable, who wrote: “Too close a comparison of Turkish students in the OECD assessments is at the moment unfair due to the disparities in the systems. However, the [Education Ministry] and YÖK [High Education Board] need to stop looking across the Atlantic for all possible answers to educational structures and look more closely at Europe, the Antipodes and in particular the International Baccalaureate. These countries, on the whole, perform much better in the OECD assessments because their systems use the new technology to support the teaching and learning ideology which is based on raising achievement and attainment. And their curricula are supported by modern assessment for learning strategies [and are] not trapped in the grade-orientated, summative test routine based on assessment of learning – which is shallow learning – based on rote memory [that does not lead] to life-long learning. There needs to be a focus on lesson structure, lesson objectives and learning outcomes, the dominance of skills and genuine, student-centered learning. If this change were to take place, then a suitable learning environment would be made in which to use the new technology effectively to the benefit of students.”

I have talked with the secretary-general of the Turkish Informatics Foundation and he said they approached the government on strategies of creating content for the digital education era. He said that unless the Turkish education system creates new content for the new education style, then we will fail miserable again and again.

I hope that the government will also step into these discussions so that we can together find the best solutions