University entrance system radically changed in Turkey

University entrance system radically changed in Turkey

University entrance system radically changed in Turkey

A number of radical changes regarding entrance to universities in Turkey are on the way, with the announcement that 10 universities in the country have been determined as research-focused universities and that the current university entrance exam system will be completely changed. 

Higher Education Board (YÖK) head Yekta Saraç said on Sept. 26 that the board will come up with a new system regarding university entrance exams so that they are completed over the course of one weekend.

According to the new system, one of the four exam result types will be taken into account (quantitative, verbal, equal-weighted, and foreign language) when students are admitted to universities, instead of the current 18 different result types, Saraç said in a speech at the Beştepe Culture and Congress Center at the presidential complex in Ankara for the opening of the 2017-18 academic year.

Turkish language and mathematics will be at the center of the new university entrance exam, with “basic mathematics and Turkish” affecting every score type, he added. 

The new system proposes the abolition of the current two-stage exam system involving the first-round YGS exam and second-round LYS exam, which first went into effect in 2010. 

“The current entrance system takes place in two stages. The first of the exams is in March and the other in June, covering a five-day period. This situation, which spreads over almost four months, affects high school education in a negative way. With a new regulation, we plan to carry out exams over one weekend and finish them [on the same weekend],” Saraç said.  

“It is not possible for exam-free admission to universities to enter into force in Turkey’s current condition with regard to social justice and equal opportunity, but we should still try to introduce a regulation that reduces stress, removes complexity, and makes things simpler. We need to reduce the stress level of our students in every stage of education, as we see the negative impact of this on the quality of education,” he added.   

Despite changes in the system, the questions in the exam “would be, like previously, asked from the national education curriculum,” said the YÖK head, adding that students “should not change their way of studying.” 

Discussions for a change in the national university entrance exam were triggered after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told reporters on Sept. 19 that the government was mulling a new system for universities in addition to the announced abolition of the Transition from Primary Education to Secondary Education (TEOG) exam. 

“[A change in the university entrance exam system] will also happen. The YÖK is working on that area too,” Erdoğan had said. 

On Sept. 26, he also took the stage at the 2017-18 Academic Year Opening ceremony in Beştepe, saying formulas should be developed to “ease the work of our students.” 

“It is good to improve formulas to ease our students’ work regarding the exam and the transition to higher education. Our YÖK head just gave some good news, and hopefully we will make this process easier,” Erdoğan said. 

“Another issue that I emphasized last year was the need for the formation of a higher education quality commission. Important ground has been covered regarding these issues,” he added, also announcing a list of 10 universities identified as special “research universities.” 

These 10 universities are Ankara University, Boğaziçi University, Erciyes University, Gazi University, Gebze Technical University, Hacettepe University, Istanbul University, Istanbul Technical University, İzmir Institute of Technology, and Middle East Technical University. 

Çukurova University, Ege University, Selçuk Univesity, Uludağ University, and Yıldız Technical University have been determined as substitute universities for this list, Erdoğan also said.