Deputy Minister of Education Mustafa Safran announced that they planned to stop sending students pursuing master's degrees to U.S. universities in a move to curb funds and shift students to Europe and Asia for higher learning.
Speaking at a meeting on higher education in the capital Ankara, Deputy Minister of Education Mustafa Safran said Turkey pays $35 million yearly to fund its citizens' master's and doctoral degrees in the United States. "This is not a good figure and we think the studies do not help students achieve a rational development. This is an economic burden," Safran said, adding the ministry would discuss the issue with the Board of Higher Education (YÖK) that oversees universities in Turkey. The deputy minister said choice of the United States as primary destination for higher education was not rational. "There are many universities scoring high in global university rankings in the Far East and we all know the quality of universities in Europe. Hence, we will advise the students to pursue studies there. This is both an economic gain for us and we believe it will be more beneficial for students on a cultural level," Safran stated.
Under the proposal, only students pursuing degrees in certain fields will be funded for their studies in U.S. universities though Safran did not specify. Turkey also plans to increase the number of universities offering master's degrees in some fields to encourage students to stay in Turkey instead of studying abroad. "We plan to keep students pursuing degrees in education, communications, engineering, business administration and et cetera in Turkey," Safran said. In the past decade, Turkey sent 15,900 people abroad for studies. The country first enacted laws in 1929 to send students abroad with monthly allowances by the state.