Turkish Maarif Foundation President Prof. Dr. Birol Akgün was the guest of the SUBÜ Talks program organized by Sakarya University of Applied Sciences (Sakarya Uygulamalı Bilimler Üniversitesi - SUBU), dedicated to "International Education and Opportunities Abroad".
The program was broadcasted on live on SUBÜ's YouTube channel and moderated by SUBÜ Communication Coordinator Assistant Ilknur Çakar. Were on the topic “Turkey's strategy on education for abroad” and “Turkish Maarif Foundation’s educational activities, vision and job and internship opportunities”. The questions from the students willing to study abroad and from other participants were then answered.
“We are the Gateaway to Abroad”
Akgün explained that they were officially providing formal and non-formal educational services based on the common values of humanity abroad on behalf of the Republic of Turkey. “We have signed official protocols on educational cooperation with nearly 100 countries. Around 43,000 students are enrolled in our 353 educational institutions in 44 countries. Most of these institutions provide education up to university. We have for the moment only one university in Albania. However, we have singed cooperation protocols with universities both in Turkey and abroad. We are also carrying out the transfer of FETO's schools to Turkey. We are the gateway of Turkey to abroad on education."
"We give importance to the priorities of our country"
Specifying that they were working to build a school in Azerbaijan, Akgün said, “Our meetings with the relevant authorities have been largely achieved. Only the issue on location remained. We are aiming to open schools both in Baku and in Karabakh, which has recently been freed from the occupation. Pakistan with around 12 thousand students and Afghanistan with around 6 thousand students are among the places with the highest number of students. Turkey develops by producing, investing and trading. Our economy is not dependent on oil, natural gas or mineral. Turkish citizens produce this wealth with their labor. We try to open schools in regions where our country gives priority in terms of economic relations, by meeting with the relevant units. We aim to raise good people by providing quality and qualified education all over the world."
"Learning a language is one of the main goals"
Akgün added that they attached importance to the learning of the official language in countries in which they were operating, then “Along with this, we want to teach the Turkish language in the best way. Teaching our language is our mission. For this purpose, we have created a Teaching Turkish for Foreigners Unit within our own structure. We have developed an academic Turkish curriculum that includes the education from kindergarten to university. The programs are being published very soon. As the interest in Turkey increases, so does the interest in Turkish language. Wherever we go, we are seeing an increase in the visibility of our country. Our effectiveness on the ground, our unique policies and TV shows influence this. We want that high technologies and polyglot people serve all countries, whether in Africa, Afghanistan or Pakistan. We don't want these people to be cut off from their culture."
"Being glocal will make you win"
Referring to the importance of being abroad for at least 6 months, Akgün said, "Experiencing other lifestyles and getting to know different cultures enrich us. I think it is an added value. It is self-reassuring. Learning a language is not limited to vocabulary or grammar. We must practice. We do not have enough opportunity to practice. This constitutes a psychological barrier for us. When you see that even with a broken foreign language, we can exchange and survive abroad, the psychological barrier is trespassed leaving instead confidence. All we want is that our students and people to be attached to their respective lore and soil, to be committed to the future of their country. As long as there's a national consciousness, we won't have any trouble. We come from strong traditions. You have to be open to the world, but everyone has his/her homeland. We must put the local and the global together and be committed to our own culture. I believe that countries and peoples can build a peaceful world that can bring these two together."