The Third Consultation Meeting for Cooperation with Universities, which brought together 56 universities and 10 institutions, kicked off with the opening speech of Turkish Maarif Foundation President Prof. Birol Akgün. Stating that the Foundation had come to compete with established international educational institutions within a short period of time by providing high quality education, Akgün made the following remarks: “Our Foundation engages in formal educational activities mostly at the K-12 level – from pre-school to the senior year of high school. Fundamentally, the Maarif Foundation provides education on the basis of the relevant country’s national curriculum and implements international programs like International Baccalaureate (IB) and Cambridge, if needed and with the relevant government’s approval. At the same time, our Foundation places emphasis on R&D activities, developing its original international curriculum called the International Maarif (IM). Our most significant product vis-à-vis the curriculum to date has been the Instruction of Turkish as a Foreign Language Program and Curriculum. That curriculum, which our Foundation has designed, was approved by the Head Council of Education and Morality of the Ministry of National Education to become a widely accepted program for national and international language instruction. At this time, the textbooks and educational materials for Turkish language instruction are being prepared and we expect to complete our book set within this year.”
Underscoring that the Turkish Maarif Foundation was established under Law No. 6721, which the Turkish Parliament adopted on 17 June 2016, Akgün noted that the Foundation, which was mandated to carry out formal and non-formal education activities abroad on behalf of the Republic of Türkiye, provides education and housing services to 50,000 students at 427 educational institutions in 49 countries on six continents with its 8,000 staff. Prof. Akgün, who said that the Turkish Maarif Foundation, Türkiye’s window into the world in education, continued to strengthen the bonds of friendship between our nation and others by providing high-quality education and raising virtuous individuals who are equipped with global skills, have internalized their own values, and are friendly toward Türkiye, stated that the Foundation, an important partner of Türkiye’s internationalization strategy in education, attached special importance to its cooperation with universities.
The Foundation’s executive board members, Ipek Coşkun and Prof. Mehmet Özkan made presentations on the current state of international students in Türkiye and around the world and the Maarif Agency, respectively. Prof. Ibrahim Gültekin, who chairs the department of Turkish and Foreign Language Instruction, made an additional presentation on Teaching Turkish Language and Culture.
At the session on the problems that international students encounter in Türkiye, which was moderated by Prof. Ahmet Bilgili, the acting president of the TMF Executive Board, Emre Oruç, the Istanbul-based coordinator of the Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB) and Sinan Kara, the Immigration Authority’s provincial coordinator for student residency, briefed the participants.
The meeting ended following the assessment.