Turkey falling behind in competitiveness index

Turkey falling behind in competitiveness index

According to the Global Competitiveness Index released by World Economic Forum (WEF), Turkey has fallen 10 places compared to two years ago.

While our country was in the 45th slot in 2014-2015, Turkey was in 51st place last year out of 140 countries, while in the 2016-2017 index Turkey is in 55th slot. 

In Turkey the index is prepared together with the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD) and the Sabancı University Competitiveness Forum. There are 12 criteria for how it is prepared: Institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labor market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication and innovation.

Turkey’s best performance is in the market size criterion. There have been improvements from previous years in the macroeconomic environment, infrastructure and higher education and training criteria. However, the financial market development, institutions, innovation, health and primary education, and goods market efficiency criteria have all recorded sharp drops over the past two years. 

According to the WEF, the most problematic area for doing business in Turkey is the inadequately educated workforce. Following this come access to financing, inefficient government bureaucracy, policy instability, tax rates, inflation and tax regulations. 

According to the index data, the areas where we constantly fall behind - including innovation - are closely associated with education. 

Education is Turkey’s soft underbelly and unfortunately, particularly after the failed July 15 military coup attempt, it is a field where we are continually losing ground. Since the coup attempt, 28,000 teachers have been expelled from public schools, while 11,000 teachers have been suspended over alleged links to terrorism. It is reported that 1 million students are currently left without teachers.

There are no adequate data on how many teachers are now jobless or the exact number of vacancies. 
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Chair Selin Sayek Böke recently submitted a parliamentary question asking how many classes have gone without teachers since July 15 and how many teachers are now out of their jobs. 

There is also the issue of “project schools” to address. As Böke pointed out in parliament, why does the Education Ministry interfere with old and reputable schools in Istanbul, İzmir and Ankara, known to have educated very successful students over years, changing their staff? Why play around with the chemistry of the institutionalized and successful schools? 

Unfortunately, each step in education being taken by the government will cause Turkey to fall further behind in future editions of the WEF’s Competitiveness Index.