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The Transformation of higher education in Turkey between 2002-2018: an analysis of policies and politics of higher education

Kalkan, Onur
This thesis focuses the changes taking place in Turkey’s higher education during 2002-2018 with a special focus on the politics and policies to analyze them in connection with the concept of transformation of higher education. First, it makes a framing of the arguments and concepts revolving around the transformation of higher education as a spatially-temporally manifold worldwide experience which consolidated after the midst of the 20th century. Since the study uses a grounded theory approach, there is no total theory of the phenomenon of the transformation of higher education rather than some eclectic outline of the theoretical lines and concepts relating to it. Second, the study works on the conditions that appears in Turkey’s context which were on the foreground during the changes. Some global and national conditions are presented with special attention to the historical background and political environment of Turkey between 2002-2018. Lastly, by a rigorous analysis of all the policies of higher education and all parliamentary discussions on higher education in the period of 2002-2018, the conducts and trajectories relating to the transformation of higher education in Turkey have been depicted empirically. Overall, this study claims that some set of crucial changes took place in the higher education of Turkey after the early 2000s. In line with that, some theoretical and conceptual arguments on the national and global issue of the transformation of higher education have been acquired to be summarized in the conclusion chapter. The arguments revolve around Turkey’s accelerating articulation to global ground of market-led tendencies in higher education by a certain neoliberal rationality. Such rationality shows itself with respect to various aspects of the transformation such as massification, quantification, administrative changes, and economic development-oriented arrangements of the structure, human labor, and productive activities relating to higher education.