ITU Rector Prof. Dr. Mehmet Karaca Explained Transformation in Education
Oct 13, 2017

The second day of the Visionary Sectors Summit, organized every two years by the Independent Industrialists and Businessmen Association (MÜSİAD), was held at the Istanbul Wow Convention Center. Istanbul Technical University Rector, Prof. Dr. Mehmet Karaca, who participated as a panelist in the "Transformation to What" session of MÜSİAD's Visionary'17 Summit delivered important messages to the education community.

In addition to the Presidential Spokesman of the Republic of Turkey Presidency, Assoc. Prof. Dr Ibrahim Kalın, MÜSIAD President, Abdurrahman Kaan, and Istanbul Technical University Rector, Prof. Dr. Mehmet Karaca, the MÜSIAD Visionary '17 Sectors Summit was host to İttifak Holding Chairman, Ünsal Sözbir, Istanbul Şehir University faculty, Asst. Prof. Dr. Mustafa Özel, Osmanlı Kahvecisi AS Chairman, Boğaçhan Göksu and many other important names from the business world.

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Sharing information about the phases universities go through over time, Dr. Karaca said "Education is the most important step in transformation, universities are indicative of life’s change".

Rector Karaca further stated “From past to present, universities have had their own internal transformations. For example, 200 years ago there was a more elitist approach. Universities were concerned with raising elite people. The structure we see today is very different. Every country assigns different jobs, identities, and authorities to its rector. This is a transformation. Toward the end of the 19th century, the curiosity was very much in the foreground, and in terms of its contribution to transformation, it was said that we should also do research in addition to education. Today, globalization and the fact that many different actors are involved in this system has made it possible for universities to transform themselves."

"Imparting Values is More Important than Imparting Knowledge"

Referring to the fact that the universities have experienced transformations within, Dr. Karaca continued as follows:

"Scholastic education in first generation universities was much more prevalent. The teacher would give a lesson to the class then leave. In the second generation, a more mono-disciplined education was prevalent. In third generation universities, there were multi-disciplinary examples as we have seen in madrassahs. There has been such a transformation within ourselves. In these universities, exact sciences and otherworldly education were mandatory. Now, education has evolved. The most important feature and goal of 3rd generation universities should be to train people that can provide social services with qualities and talents that will enable societal transformation in addition to education and research.

Emphasizing the importance of educating values, Dr. Karaca said: “We should be giving importance to the education of values such as individual behaviour as part of society, how to treat others, how to have human values. Basically, we have to impart values like educating primary school children about traffic rules; transformation at the base should be the issue.”

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 “In Transformation, Teachers Should be Role Models for Their Students"

Dr Karaca: "A few years ago, there was an extreme push for distance education. A teacher taught remotely using electronic capabilities, but interaction with students was very limited. Now, slowly, a conversion to the old (methods) has begun. Because today's generation of students are in search of a role model. That is, teachers and educators have to be an example to the students with their stance, style of dress, and poise. So, there is a transformation from scholastic education to an interactive class system. At our university, we have 2 hours a week of counseling with our students at different locations. The topic of the lesson is completely conversational. The goal is to break the barriers between teacher and student. We have conversations about life or student’s issues."

“At Least One Third of our Students Play an Instrument”

Dr. Karaca, emphasizing that students are highly inclined towards art and music, pointed out; “Our latest generation of students are very inclined toward Turkish music, with one in three of our students playing at least one instrument. We ensure that there is as much area as possible in order for our young people to have relaxation space." Dr. Karaca emphasized that increasing the attractiveness of the teaching profession is the most important key to change. He continued as follows: “Teachers are the most important key point in transforming education in terms of being role models. For this reason, their working conditions must be made more attractive and be better equipped. As an example, in Finland, the title of teacher is given to a person with at least a master’s degree. Our education faculties also need to be reformed in terms of training teachers."