The expansion of higher education in Turkey: The rationales behind this expansion and its challenges

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Acer E. K., GÜÇLÜ N.

YUKSEKOGRETIM DERGISI, vol.7, no.1, pp.28-38, 2017 (ESCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 7 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.2399/yod.17.003
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.28-38
  • Yozgat Bozok University Affiliated: No


The purpose of this study is to analyze the expansion of higher education in Turkey and identify the rationales behind this expansion and the key problems faced during the course of this policy. By 2016, the number of universities has grown to 181 of which 111 are public and 63 are private (foundation) and 7 are vocational private universities. After 2006, the number of universities grew from 77 to 181 (131% increase) and the number of public universities grew from 53 to 111 (109% increase). It is necessary to identify the sociological, economic, ideological and political rationales behind this rapid expansion especially after 2006. Furthermore, with this rapid expansion, the Turkish higher education system is confronting with some key challenges and issues such as quality vs. quantity and diversity vs. homogeneity. So this study aims to shed lights on some key challenges and problems that have not been addressed sufficiently. In summary, with regard to the issues of quality vs. quantity, in Turkish higher education system, although the number of universities increases, the quality of these universities does not improve synchronically. Regarding the diversity vs. homogeneity issues, it is observed that especially recently established universities might make the Turkish higher education system isomorphic.