Erol Özvar, President of the Council of Higher Education (YÖK), announced that courses will be held face-to-face in applied units such as medicine, dentistry and health sciences in universities in the provinces affected by the earthquakes, centered in Kahramanmaraş, and that the decision on distance education in theoretical programs will be made by the senates of the universities.
Özvar met with the rectors of the universities in the earthquake zone at Gaziantep University (GAÜN) and received information about the studies carried out for the new academic year.
Making a statement to the press before the meeting, Özvar reminded that more than 16 percent of Turkey’s population was affected by the Kahramanmaraş-centered earthquakes that occurred on February 6 and caused great suffering.
Stating that according to YÖK records, the number of students studying in 18 universities in the earthquake zone is over 410 thousand, Özvar said, “Although they continue their university education in different provinces, the number of students whose families live in the earthquake zone is approximately 300 thousand. In this way, 15 percent of our higher education students are affected by the effects of the earthquake disaster.” “When we consider the approximately 45 thousand academic and administrative staff working in the earthquake zone, as well as our students, the magnitude of the impact becomes clearer.” he said.
Stating that YÖK has made rapid and important decisions regarding the areas under its responsibility since the first moment of the earthquake, Özvar stated that dormitories affiliated with the Credit and Dormitories Institution (KYK) or universities were allocated to earthquake victims in order to overcome the housing problem that emerged in the earthquake region.
Reminding that universities switched to hybrid education throughout the country in the 2022-2023 spring semester in order to continue their education and training activities in a healthy manner, Özvar said, “Universities were provided with opportunities to carry out both distance and face-to-face education together. In addition, students who wish to continue their education activities can optionally freeze registration and special education in the spring semester.” “Opportunities such as studentships were also provided. In addition, by the Presidential Decree, students affected by the earthquake were exempt from contribution loans and the fees of those who had made payments were refunded.” said.
Stating that after the first decisions were taken, YÖK closely monitored the situation of the universities in the earthquake zone and took new decisions when necessary, Özvar reminded that additional quotas were provided for candidates who were affected by the earthquake, contributed to the access of candidate students to the university, and additional quotas were opened to facilitate the access of women over the age of 34 to the university.
Decisions taken for universities in earthquake zones
Reminding that YÖK made some decisions for the universities in Adıyaman, Hatay, Kahramanmaraş and Malatya on September 7, Özvar continued as follows:
“Taking into account factors such as the current physical conditions of the universities in the provinces in question and the housing opportunities in the city, it is determined which programs and classes will be face-to-face education and which distance education will be provided in the associate and undergraduate programs within the faculties and colleges, and which programs and classes will be provided with distance education in the graduate programs within the institutes. University senates will decide whether face-to-face or distance education will be provided.
In addition, in accordance with the decision taken by the university senates, all students who will receive distance education or face-to-face education will be given the right to be a private student in programs at other state universities that are equivalent to the program they are registered in and whose language of instruction is the same. It has been decided that they can apply to the state universities where they want to be a private student, taking into account the start date, and that the private student application will be accepted if the university they apply to has a class with a program equivalent to the program in which the student is registered and with the same language of instruction.
Students who have been decided by the university senate to provide education through distance education and who have not applied to receive education as a special student for the semester(s) at another university, but who need to take the Teaching Practice course face to face during the education period, can continue the Teaching Practice course at the universities in the provinces where they are currently located, upon their request. It has been decided that they can.”
Özvar stated that students can apply for special studentships for the courses they need, universities will appoint a responsible unit to coordinate students’ transactions, and students in universities in the earthquake zone who request it can freeze their registration for 1 year without being included in the education period.
Additional placements will be completed as of September
YÖK President Özvar said, “In universities in the earthquake zone, applied units, that is, programs such as medicine, dentistry, and health sciences, will be carried out face to face through distance education, and other programs, that is, theoretical programs, will be carried out remotely with the decisions taken by our universities.” said.
Thanking the Ministry of Youth and Sports for their support to the earthquake victims and the earthquake region, Özvar said, “They made important efforts to ensure that KYK’s dormitories are used by our students, both in the earthquake region and in other provinces. Our students applied to these dormitories in our provinces. As a result of the applications, students registered “The number reached 90 percent.” he said.
Stating that additional placement studies will be completed as of September, Özvar said that the universities will start their academic openings in the first week of October.
Özvar also touched upon the quotas of universities in the earthquake zone and said:
“For the first time, our students were able to enter universities with the quota we opened for candidates in the earthquake zone. Those who applied for these quotas competed among themselves without violating the quotas of other students or using those quotas. This year was a very pleasing development. Even though we experienced such a big earthquake, our universities in the earthquake zone were full. “The rates are over 95 percent. This shows us how hopeful and positive our people living in the earthquake zone look to the future. This motivates universities and YÖK tremendously.”