23 SES 02 B, Globalization, Europeanization and Higher Education Reforms
Neo-liberalization of the higher education system has been a controversial issue since the early 2000s. Although most of the literature on the topic has been concentrated on the North American and European cases, as expected the structural changes, i.e., introduction of the neo-liberal tools into the higher education system, could not be limited with those examples. In this respect study of different national higher education systems, public or otherwise, would reveal both the commonalities and the unique aspects of such structural changes.
Turkish higher education system is composed of a two-tier structure: state (public) universities and non-profit foundation (private) universities. This dual structure has been established with the changes in the higher education act following 1980 military coup d'état. The military intervention not only radically restructured the political arena with the making of a new constitution (1982) but also prepared the necessary policy arrangements for Turkish economy’s integration into the global market system. One of the most important aspects of the policies was the transformation of the higher education system. This paper provides an analysis of the emergence and the development of foundation universities (FUs) and examines their role in the neo-liberalization of the higher education system in Turkey. To that aim, the paper is divided into three parts: first a brief history of FUs in Turkey will be presented. Afterwards, the rise of FUs will be analyzed in two phases: the first phase, i.e., part 2; will consist of the period between 1984 and 1999. Here, the basic characteristics of the first generation of FUs and the mechanisms employed for the integration into the neoliberal market system will be examined. The third part will focus on the second phase, the expansion period since 2000. The analysis of the second generation of FUs is crucial not only because it reveals that FUs are now irreversibly incorporated into the market economy but also because it displays the impact of the ruling Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (Justice and Development Party), AKP regime and its role in the neo-liberalization of higher education.
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