Turkey needs more university-industry cooperation: Turkish president
Turkey should use its universities in a competent way and carry out university to industry cooperation to further levels, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Feb. 6.
“I see China very successful in this regard,” Erdoğan said at the opening ceremony of Technopolis IT Innovation Center of the Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ).
There is a lot to do in the universities of Turkey, he said, stressing the country’s achievements in terms of “autonomy” and the “allocation of resources.”
“I am confident that our universities will reach the desired level with the people who are devoted to the development of science and technology,” he stated.
He stressed centers such as Teknokent would be crucial for Turkey to achieve its targets. Science will serve humanity only if it backs moral values, he said, adding that science should not be commercialized.
The number of universities in Turkey has reached 206, the number of lecturers 162,000, and the number of students went up from 1.6 million to eight million, Erdoğan said.
“When I visited Germany, I asked [Chancellor Angela] Merkel, ’How many college students do you have? She replied ‘three million.’” She asked about the number of our students. I said eight million. Of course she was surprised,” Erdoğan said.
Teknokent project is Turkey’s first science and technology park, located in the country’s capital of Ankara.
“Turkey does not have a very ideal higher education system,” he said, “but we are committed to take more comprehensive steps in this field.”
“I regard the steps taken by the Council of Higher Education [YÖK] as a pioneer of reforms. Our reforms to improve the quality of education in basic areas such as medicine, engineering and law are much more urgent,” he said, noting that the government will focus on these issues in the near future.
Turkey must stand on its own feet on the areas from data production, security, defense, health, information technologies to artificial intelligence, he said.
“We cannot maintain our independence without dominating the technology field.”