Dinçer Demirkent writes: President Erdoğan just appointed rectors to 16 universities across the country. This decision has raised “academic” concerns within universities. Questions have surfaced as to which criteria have been used and to what extent nepotism played a role in these appointments.
Turkey's Council of Higher Education (YÖK) has said that it asked universities to postpone their reopenings until Oct. 1 amid the novel coronavirus outbreak. The YÖK said that it will be up to universities and their faculties to decide if courses will be taught online or on campus.
Turkey's higher education workers find that the country's remote education practice has hurt institutions' autonomy, and has caused a deterioration in the quality of education. "All higher education institutions have been connected to a more centralized, uniform, more hierarchical and imperialistic system," Çukurova University's Prof. Adnan Gümüş said.
Some 27 medical associations released an official statement that criticize recent regulation that mandates all COVID-19 research in Turkey receive approval from the Health Ministry. The organizations noted that ethics boards are responsible for evaluating research projects. Health Ministry approval will be required for projects that have ethics board approval, and those that are still pending approval.
A document titled "COVID-19 normalization plan" with the presidential seal raised question marks in terms of its authenticity on social media, as the file can't be found on any official website. A number of Turkish media outlets reported that the PDF wasn't authentic and that no "normalization plan" was officially announced.
Turkey's Council of Higher Education announced that all finals for the Spring 2020 semester would be held remotely to avoid further spreading COVID-19 among students. The council also noted that universities could replace finals, along with any other exams left in the semester, with alternative assignments.
A survey conducted at Ankara University found that 65 percent of students are dealing with higher levels of anxiety and stress due to coronavirus epidemic. The survey also highlighted how difficult it can be for college students to study online as about only half of the students have a computer of their own.