“Draft Law on the Establishment  Health Institutes Administration and Amendments to Certain Laws and Executive Decrees” proposes the establishment of Health Institutes Directorate of Turkey (TÜSEB) and a health university, as well as a number of new regulations concerning the Council of Higher Education (YÖK) and universities.

Legal scholar Prof. Yeşim M. Atamer, a member of The Science Academy’s Commission on Ethics and Human Rights, has penned a report criticizing the draft law in terms of scientific principles, law, universities, research and the health system. Below are excerpts from the recently issued report:

“The report hereby was based on the following studies: Council of the European Union, Resolution on modernising universities for Europe’s competitiveness in a global knowledge economy, Brussels, 6 December 2007; Aghion/Dewatripont/Hoxby/Mas-Colell/Sapir, Higher aspirations: An Agenda for Reforming European Universities, Bruegel 2008; Estermann/Nokkala, University Autonomy in Europe I – Exploratory Study, Brussels 2009; Reichert/Tauch, European Universities Implementing Bologna, Brussels 2011; Estermann/Nokkala/Steinel, University Autonomy in Europe II – The Scorecard, Brussels 2011.

“The suggestions put forth by these studies mainly fall under the following categories: i. An increase in the budgets of universities, ii. An expansion of university autonomy and iii. Increased competition and mobility in the university. Especially those studies focusing on autonomy go further and suggest that autonomy is required in the following fields:

Organizational autonomy

– Financial autonomy

– Employment autonomy

– Scientific autonomy.”

“According to the results of a study published in 2011 and available online, Turkey ranks 28th in terms of organizational autonomy, 23rd in financial autonomy, 21st in autonomy of employment, and 25th in academic autonomy among 29 European countries. It is evident that the current situation calls for improvement. However, as will be discussed below in detail, the new draft law falls short of formulating solutions to these problems and instead limits further the autonomy of universities and research institutes. Some examples are the transfer of the authority to hold associate professorship exams to the Higher Education Council, the appointment of the board of trustees of foundation universities by Higher Education Council, and granting the right to set priority subjects for overseas studies again to Higher Education Council. However, before pointing to the draft’s drawbacks in this regard, it has to be discussed whether a structure such as Health Institutes of  Turkey is necessary in the first place.”