Turkey's education sector has developed immensely over the years on the back of government policies and strong collaborations with renowned international institutions and bodies.

Mustafa Aydın

President, Istanbul Aydın University (İAÜ)

We established Anadolu Bil Vocational School in 2002, and in 2007 we transformed the associate's degree programs into bachelor's degree programs, which marked the official establishment of Istanbul Aydın University. We established a university with a strong social environment with over 40,000 students, of which 6,000 are international students. We have 16 faculties and vocational schools of higher education, 34 research centers, two UNESCO chair programs, two think tanks, and collaborations with 500 international universities. One of the university's differentiating factor is that there are sector-work councils in each department. Academics and professionals come together and revise their programs and curriculums every six months. As a result, we are investing more in areas related to technology, such as AI, coding, and other elements of the fourth and fifth industrial revolutions. We have 34 research centers in various fields of studies, from renewable energies to cybersecurity. Some focus on technology and others on health. We are also interested in blockchain. As a university, we should lead the way for the public by showing people this new reality, how it is being used, the dangers, and the opportunities. Applied training is one of the things that we are extremely proud of. Our students are not sent there as a student or intern; they are sent to work one or two days a week like any other employee at that workplace. I adapted this model from Japan. We have about 50,000 graduates, and 75% of them are in the workforce.

Bahar Akıngüç Günver

President, Istanbul Kültür University (İKÜ)

Our history and experience in the education sector is one of the ways we distinguish ourselves from other universities. Another important characteristic is that we are not a university for a certain socioeconomic group. Since it is a foundation-based university, we award considerable scholarships. At present, İKÜ has 16,000 students and over 1,000 academic and administrative employees. We have eight faculties, two vocational schools, one institute, and research centers. We are focused on integrating technology into all of our operations, especially in resource planning. Touching on the challenge of multidisciplinary work, we are working on a technology transfer office that will better allow research and technology to move throughout the university. We are also establishing a design factory, one of the first in Turkey, for students interested in start-up projects and will also have an incubator center. We recently opened new laboratories for voice and image research. In addition, our architecture department has excellent distance learning programs and relations with international universities. On the other hand, topics focused on digital transformation are being carried out within the scope of curriculum studies in order to ensure that students meet the requirements of the technological era. These courses include blockchain, AI, IoT, cybersecurity, and machine learning. Notably, we have the fifth-largest body of international students in Turkey.

İrfan Gündüz

Chairman of the Board of Trustees, İbn Haldun University (İHÜ)

İHÜ began operations in 2015 but opened for students in 2017. Several years ago, the UN launched the Alliance of Civilizations, a global forum co-chaired by Spain and Turkey. For this global forum, Turkey founded an institute that was initially a part of Fatih Sultan Mehmet Vakıf University. In 2015, when İHÜ was founded, this institute became a part of our university instead. We decided to specialize in social sciences. We also focus on graduate and doctoral programs. We teach in Turkish, English, and Arabic. We have an international student quota of around 35-40%. We have students from 75 countries. Building bridges between cultures through goodness and kindness is central to our goal. We have international students from all over the world, including Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. This is due to both the İHÜ name, a great historic figure, and our vision to create a new civilization. Students choose our university not only to learn about eastern and western cultures, but to have a comparative education. We receive between 7,000 and 10,000 admission requests annually, but we can only take in 60 or 70. We have plans to open architecture and fine arts departments. We also plan to build sociological parks in our campus similar to technological parks in other universities. Even though we are undertaking this expansion, we want to stay a boutique university, which means we will not exceed 5,000 students.

Ali Altınbaş

Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Altınbaş University

In accordance with international education standards, our university has been lecturing in English since the day it was founded. At the same time, it is part of a global education network, cooperating with 68 universities in 30 different countries and working internationally with 135 universities in 35 countries as a part of the Erasmus program. Our students also have the opportunity to gain work experience during their education. Furthermore, we facilitate long-term internships for our students, primarily at international companies. All our bachelor's and associate degree programs enjoy significant demand, especially our medical degrees. Medicine, dentistry, and pharmaceutical faculties and our school of health services enjoy the highest demand. Likewise, demand for psychology, interior design, and gastronomy, is also high. Additionally, in the future we will place more focus on our lifelong learning center, thereby diversifying our education field with certification courses. Turkey's share in the global education sector is only 1%; that said, as a country we have made considerable steps. According to recent data, our universities host around 150,000 international students from 180 different countries. Four years ago, that number was 25,000. The industry aims to boost that number to 500,000 by 2023. Expediting the bureaucratic process is crucial. As a country, we need to establish an education agency to attract more students.

Enver Yücel

Chairman, Bahçeşehİr Kolejİ

Bahçeşehİr Kolejİ was established in 1994, though as a broader organization we have 51 years of experience. Since its establishment, it has undertaken the mission to bring innovation to Turkey, our organization, and the industry. When we look at the recent years, under the Industry 4.0 drive, a new education-training approach has become a trend. As part of this advancement, we became one of the first institutions to start the STEM program in Turkey, and at present, we are ranked one of the most important institutions for STEM education. We attaches importance to international relations. We operate institutions all over the world including Asia, Europe, and the US. In terms of partnerships, we collaborated with the Carlyle Fund in the field of international finance. Indeed, finance is important for our growth in Turkey and for our projects across the world. With our knowledge and experience, we are able to find the locations where a school is needed. A part of our mission is to introduce quality education to everywhere in Turkey; we do not consider the profitability of our educational institutions in some parts of the country. By doing this, we bring high-quality education to marginalized parts of the country. We constantly train our current teachers and managers. Our top priority is maintaining the quality of our employees. We attach more importance to our human capital than the physical factors.

Ahmet Şahin

Rector, Acibadem University

Thanks to our close cooperation with Acıbadem Health Group, our students have wide opportunities for clinical practice trainings and internships. We believe that with the diversity of clinical practice trainings, our students' experience will contribute positively to their professional lives. In our research laboratories, which enable all kinds of research in the field of life sciences, 60 different projects in various disciplines such as medical microbiology, biotechnology, molecular biology, and genetics are currently being carried out. Within the scope of our university-industry cooperation, we carry out joint projects with key national and international companies. In addition, we support initiatives related to health technologies thanks to our incubation center. The center has supported 181 projects since its establishment in 2017. In 2018, our school of medicine and nursing department were accredited, and we plan to start the accreditation processes for several more departments in 2019. Collaboration with external partners positively correlates with academic excellence, which is why most of our faculty is actively involved with external organizations. We plan to build further opportunities for international research partnerships with other world-class institutions. We are also establishing new laboratories and centers within the university.