The issue of the universities in North Cyprus was discussed on Wednesday at the TRNC Higher Education Strategic Planning Workshop.
Addressing the workshop, President Mustafa Akinci referred to the need for having “very serious criteria” in higher education in North Cyprus adding: “Quality should be at the forefront. We must carry out planning in a very sound manner and put an end to this wrong course”.
In his statements, Prime Minister Tufan Erhurman also referred to the planning issue and said that neither government nor any other institution had carried out a study and plan provision for 16 universities and 100,000 students in the 2017-18 academic year. He argued: “[…] If planning for 100,000 students was conducted, we would not be caught unprepared on the issues of public transportation, multiculturalism, health and working life. 30,000 out of the 100,000 students come from third countries, that is to say, their main language is not Turkish. Their culture is different. In the problems, which were experienced because of this, we have unfortunately started getting reactions approaching racism. This is a very dangerous thing […]”.
Moreover, Prof. Akile Buke, chairperson of the Higher Education Evaluation and Accreditation Council (YODAK), said that the current situation is not sustainable and argued that “higher education in the TRNC, which reached this stage with a lot of work, is under threat”. Buke noted that 16 universities exist in North Cyprus in which 4,529 teachers are employed and 101,000 students study. She added that 55,000 of these students come from Turkey and 13,000 from the TRNC.
Referring to the applications for opening new universities, Buke said that the procedure for the application of 16 new universities continues and added that some of these universities want to start offering education during the 2018-19 academic year.
Finally, Education Minister Cemal Ozyigit said that applications for the opening of 16 new universities exist and that three of them will start functioning during the 2018-19 academic year. He noted that many universities have applied for preliminary permits and added that this issue should be carefully discussed.