DEQA-VET: Interview mit Besim Durgun

Besim Durgun, Bildungsexperte aus Ankara, war im Mai/Juni 2011 für fast fünf Wochen Teil des DEQA-VET-Teams. Als Gastwissenschaftler informierte er sich über den Stand der Qualitätssicherung in der beruflichen Bildung in Deutschland, führte viele Gespräche mit den Kollegen im BIBB und bereicherte u.a. die Arbeit von DEQA-VET mit seinem breiten Wissen über den VET-Sektor in der Türkei und die internationale Projektarbeit.

DEQA-VET-Interview mit Gastwissenschaftler Besim Durgun

First of all, a warm welcome to you. You are a visiting scholar in BIBB for a total of five weeks. Your professional life is shaped around your interest in education and training. You have lived in the U.S for ten years in the 90s, and now you live in Turkey; and since 2000, you have worked with international partners in a variety of projects, and in specific, on vocational education and training (VET).
Could you tell us more about yourself?

Thank you. Well, I must say that my interest in social issues has all started during my high school years. Following high school, I chose to study a social science, namely, economics at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey.  During my university years, I took part in a socio-economic (labour market) survey carried out by IAB for migrant workers who returned to Turkey in 1984. That was my introduction to both the project world and VET in an indirect way.
After my graduation from the university, I met an elementary school teacher, who inspired me a lot to become a teacher with practical and vocational skills. I have studied at the Sunbridge College in New York to become a Waldorf Teacher and continued to do my Master’s in education alongside my study. Then, came the teaching years at Waldorf Schools in the US with teaching woodwork, clay modelling and practical arts, all of which were my introduction to crafts, and in a way to VET.
My work with the German Red Cross and United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) during and after the Marmara Earthquake in Turkey followed by two EU-funded projects in VET, namely, Strengthening the Vocational Education and Training System in Turkey (SVET) and Support to Human Resources Development through Vocational Education and Training Project (HRD-VET) have deepened my interest as well as my knowledge and experience in VET both in the Turkish and European context.

Turkey is among the candidate countries for the EU membership. Could you tell us about the recent developments in VET in Turkey, which you feel, are significant and comparable to EU practices? What has been achieved and what is in the process?

VET Reform in Turkey started in the 80s and with Turkey’s accession process to the EU, gained momentum in the early 90s and continued during the first decade of the new millennium. Alignment and integration with the EU has been the priority of all governments during this period, and great steps have been taken in this regard, which is clearly reflected in the current status of “Education and Culture” chapter of the accession negotiations. Contributing to this end are Education and Employment Project, funded by the World Bank, Vocational and Technical Education and Training (METGE) Project, Strengthening the Vocational Education and Training System in Turkey (SVET) and Support to Human Resources Development through Vocational Education and Training Project (HRD-VET) both of which were funded by the European Commission. Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance funds are still supporting the alignment of Turkish VET System with the EU.
Turkey has already established legal body with a clear remit of coordinating the Turkish Qualifications System, namely, Vocational Qualifications Authority, (VQA).  A Turkish national qualifications framework (NQF), which will cover general, vocational and higher education and training is being developed, building on the experience of the broad EQF consultation process in 2005, the VET reform in 1990s and the outcomes of the SVET project.

Many elements of the NQF are in place and further development will involve drawing the various elements together. NQF for higher qualifications (EQF levels 5-8) was adopted by the Council of Higher Education (CoHE) in 2010. The NQF for lower vocational qualifications (EQF levels 1-4) is still in the development stage coordinated by the Ministry of National Education (MoNE).

Turkish VET reform not only includes the establishment of a tripartite umbrella organization, the VQA, but also a complete renewal of VET content and delivery. Adoption of a modular and outcome-based VET qualifications design, development and implementation has a great effect on the system to facilitate mobility and permeability within and between the three sectors in VET, the formal, non-formal and informal education. This also supports to bridge the gap between education and labour market as well as to promote the lifelong learning principle.

DEQA-VET: Could you briefly outline the current status of quality assurance in VET in Turkey?

The quality control in the Turkish public educational system is carried out at two levels: a. Basic and secondary formal and non-formal education b. Tertiary education institutions.
External supervision and evaluation processes are carried out by two different supervisory bodies of MoNE Board of Inspection - Ministerial inspectors at the national and central level and Primary Education Inspectors – at the provincial and sub-provincial levels.
Supervision conducted by ‘external supervision and evaluation’ activities differ from one educational level to the other. Evaluation of the teachers who work at pre-primary and primary school levels is carried out by the primary education inspectors. Supervisors prepare the reports about the schools, administrators’ and the teachers’ performances. Supervision of the secondary school teachers is carried out by the ministerial inspectors. The supervision is based on the professional area of the teachers.
Both supervisions (by primary education inspectors and ministerial inspectors) include the supervision of both institutions and personnel (administrators and teachers). In the supervision of the institutions, work and operations of the schools and institutions such as performance of administrators, teachers and the other personnel, teaching, examinations, certification, environmental relations are investigated.
The responsibility of the Ministry for Education (MEB) to carry out, monitor and supervise educational services includes not only supervision of educational services but also evaluation and development of them. The Ministry carries out this responsibility by means of school administrators at school level (internal evaluation) and by means of supervision and research-development system at local and national levels (external evaluation).
In addition, student achievement is evaluated by means of the national and international monitoring studies and research-development studies conducted or coordinated by MoNE Directorate for Research and Development of Education (EARGED). The work conducted at national and international levels (SBS, ÖBBS, PISA, TIMMS, PIRLS) are important to show the general achievement in the primary and secondary education and allows international benchmarking.
The supervision in tertiary education is different from supervision of the MoNE institutions. External supervision of tertiary education is carried out by Supervisory Board of Higher Education.  This board inspects and evaluates the universities, affiliated units, academic staff and activities on behalf of CoHE.
When looking at the situation up to 2005, there was no legal regulation on quality insurance in tertiary education at national or university level. Recently, a new regulation The Regulation of Academic Evaluation and Quality Development organizing the academic evaluations and quality development subjects in tertiary education has come into force. Commission on the Academic Evaluation and Quality Development at CoHE level and Academic Evaluation and Quality Development at university level, follow that regulation.
Quality Assurance
In terms of quality standards, one may say that a significant amount of public education institutions practice standards such as TQM, ISO 9000 and School Development model based on EFQM Excellence Model. So quality standards for VET providers do exist. VET policy is conducted at a national level; however, a national approach for quality assurance is yet to be developed. No national Reference Point is identified or established in Turkey yet. However, EQAVET liaises with MoNE on the quality assurance issues in VET.

DEQA-VET: What can the German VET sector learn from the Turkish, and vice versa?

First of all, one must mention the strong social partner and industry involvement in the VET system in Germany. The stakeholders show clear interest in VET and support it significantly. This is the strength of the dual system, whereas, it is an area for growth in Turkey. Though, there is an apprenticeship path in the Turkish IVET, where one may see enterprise involvement, formal IVET and CVET requires a stronger industry presence and support.
Great progress has been made during the last two decades in the Turkish VET system in terms of outcome-based education and training. Qualifications development has a built-in quality assurance mechanism: from skills needs analysis, occupational standards, training standards/qualifications, to assessment and certification based on unitized/modularized qualifications. The modular approach has an advantage to react to changes in the industry in a speedy way. It also allows permeability between different sectors, formal, non-formal and informal as well as different qualification levels, thereby promoting LLL. In addition, qualifications framework in Turkey is regulated by a tripartite semi-autonomous umbrella institution, namely VQA. This legal body is still in its childhood stage fostered by a newly launched IPA project to support its development. It has big tasks to fulfil. On the other hand, the German VET system may need modularisation of qualifications to facilitate fast reaction to the industry and labour market needs, as well as to promote permeability and mobility.

DEQA-VET: Thank you for sharing your experience with us. We wish you the best and as well all the best for your further professional projekts and plans.

Thank you.

(Bonn, 6. Juni 2011, Interview: Helena Sabbagh)