TURKISH HIGHER EDUCATION QUALITY COUNCIL (THEQC)

Membership Type: Full
Email: theqcsecretariat@yokak.gov.tr
Year in which Organisation/Agency commenced operations: 2015
Countries/regions/states of operation: Ankara, Turkey

Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Title: Prof Dr
First Name: Muhsin
Surname: Kar
Email Id: theqcsecretariat@yokak.gov.tr
Alternative Email Id: muhsinkar@yokak.gov.tr

Nominated Contact Person (if different from CEO)


Organisation Details

TURKISH HIGHER EDUCATION QUALITY COUNCIL (THEQC)
Address: Yuksekogretim Kalite Kurulu Baskanligi Universiteler Mah. 1600 Cad. No:10 06800 Bilkent Ankara
Turkey
Turkey
Website: https://yokak.gov.tr/

Additional Contacts

Name 1: Ayşegül Kozak Çakır
Email 1: aysegulkozak@yokak.gov.tr
Name 2: Dilek Avşaroğlu Erkan
Email 2: dilekavsaroglu@yokak.gov.tr

Criteria Requirements for Full Member

1 Criterion: Nature of the operations of the agency:
Measure: The agency is responsible for reviews at institutional or programme level of post-secondary
education institutions or post-secondary quality assurance agencies
Description: The THEQC is legally the only national body responsible for quality assurance in the Turkish higher education system. In this respect, THEQC independently evaluates Turkish higher education institutions.
As of 2019, there are 207 Higher Education Institutions (HEI) in Turkey, and of those 129 are state universities, 73 are foundation universities, and 5 are foundation vocational schools. Currently, under the roofs of these HEIs there are 26.198 bachelor’s programs, 12.628 master’s programs, and 5.539 Ph.D. programs. For 2018-2019 academic year, a total of 7.740.502 students were enrolled in HEIs; including 4.420.699 in bachelor’s programs, 394.174 in master’s programs, and 96.199 in doctoral programs. The current structure of the Turkish higher education system is in compliance with the three-cycle system (bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and doctorate degree) introduced by the Bologna Process. Since 2016, all HEIs in Turkey have to prepare their Institutional Self-Evaluation Reports (ISERs) on annual basis as a requisite of quality assurance system (ISERs can be accessed through http://yokak.gov.tr/raporlar/kurum-ici-degerlendirme-raporlari). During the last four years, the THEQC completed the external evaluation process of 160 HEIs out of 207, and authorized independent national accreditation agencies and recognized international accreditation agencies that show evidence of compliance with ESG as well as with national standards and principles, which were declared on the THEQC’s web page (http://yokak.gov.tr/akreditasyon-kuruluslari/akreditasyon-kuruluslari-yetkilendirme-taninma).
2 Criterion: Mission statement and objectives:
Measure: The agency has formulated a mission statement and objectives which are consistent with the nature of the agency
Description: The mission of THEQC is to implement and enhance the quality assurance system of the national higher education system by supporting the internal quality assurance system and the progress of quality culture, and conducting the external assessments of the higher education institutions so that it can significantly contribute to the enhancement of intellectual capital and sustainable development of the society in a transparent, accountable and collaborative manner. It can be localized at the HEQC webpage; http://yokak.gov.tr/hakkinda/misyon-vizyon
3 Criterion: Agency staff, Numbers, Profile, Roles:
Measure: The profile of the staff is consistent with the Mission Statement
Description: THEQC consists of 13 members, including:
• Three chosen by the Council of Higher Education General Board,
• Three chosen by the Inter-University Council,
• One chosen by the Ministry of National Education,
• One representing the Vocational Qualification Institution,
• One representing the Health Institutes of Turkey,
• One representing the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey,
• One representing Turkish Accreditation Agency,
• One representing the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey,
• One student representative.
Besides, there’s an external advisory board of THEQC and it is composed of 8 experts who are mostly retired and have extensive experience in Higher Education Quality Assurance. In addition, there are currently 6 specialists who are responsible for the coordination and organization of the activities of THEQC. It should be also noted that 6 administrative personnel working at THEQC.

The brief CV’s of the THEQC members, who represent different fields of expertise while in common they all have experience in quality assurance systems, can be found in our webpage: (http://yokak.gov.tr/hakkinda/yuksekogretim-kalite-kurulu-uyeleri)
4 Criterion: Profile of reviewers:
Measure: The profile of the reviewers is consistent with the Mission Statement
Description: The external evaluator pool of THEQC is composed of academic and administrative staff as well as students. Every year, THEQC makes a call for those who want to be included in this evaluator pool. And after the call, a group of candidates are chosen based on their experience about and interest level to quality assurance in higher education. Then, THEQC gives training to these candidates so that they can be ready for the site visits. The trainings are given to all evaluator pool members however, each of these trainings are designed specifically according to the specific needs and expertise levels of the pool members. Finally, THEQC forms the external evaluation teams which are composed of academic, administrative and student members. However, at this point THEQC gives special attention for the selection of team leaders. The team leaders are chosen based on their prior expertise such as being an evaluator in EUA, having a managerial position (e.g. rector, provost) etc.
5 Criterion: Independence:
Measure: The judgements and recommendations of the agency’s reports cannot be changed by third parties
Description: Turkish Higher Education Quality Board was founded as part of the “Higher Education Quality Assurance Regulation” that entered in force on 23rd July 2015. The Board was reorganized and renamed as the Higher Education Quality Council (THEQC) according to the Additional Provision No. 35 added to the Law No. 2547 on Higher Education following the enactment of the Law No. 7033 on Amendment of Certain Laws and Executive Orders on 1st July 2017. By this law, THEQC has gained administrative, operational and financial independence. As a result, THEQC has become the only national body responsible for quality assurance in the Turkish higher education system.

The THEQC has full responsibility for creation of criteria, evaluation process and decision making in Turkish Higher Education Quality Assurance System. The THEQC continuously collects feedbacks from all of its internal and external stakeholders and regularly updates its criteria, procedures as well as education and publishing platforms in accordance with international standards and guidelines (mostly the ESG). During these processes the THEQC is fully autonomous and does not get approval from any authority, institution or personality, while also transparently publishes every revision and newly developed guides as well as its institutional evaluation reports in the THEQC website.
6 Criterion: Resources:
Measure: The agency has sufficient resources to run its operations in accordance with its mission statement and objectives
Description: The primary duties of THEQC are: external evaluation of higher education institutions; coordination of the authorization process of national and recognition process of international accreditation agencies; internalization and dissemination of quality assurance culture in higher education institutions. The THEQC is financed by the state to run these primary duties in accordance with its mission statement. However, despite being funded by the state, the THEQC is a fully autonomous institution. Besides this annual governmental budget allocation, THEQC has the legal right to engage in income generating activities by itself such as the right to collect donations and endow funds.
The THEQC has a 1034 square meter flat with sufficient rooms and meeting venues to run its functions effectively without any limitation. To run its trainings for large groups of academic experts, it has sufficient funds to rent professional congress venues as needed. As detailed in the 3rd criterion regarding the agency staff, the THEQC has enough academic and support personnel to plan, develop and run its responsibilities given to it by the related law and regulation. The THEQC has competent team of IT specialists and is proud to develop and launch a sophisticated fully automated Quality Assurance Management Information System (QAMIS) for the use of Turkish Higher Education System society, Quality Assurance experts as well as independent program accreditation agencies.
7 Criterion: External quality assurance criteria and processes:
Measure: The description of the processes and criteria applied should be transparent and publicly available and normally include:
self evaluation, site visit, public report and follow-up measure
Description: The THEQC has been functioning in complete independence with no direct interference since its first day in 2015 however it gained full financial and administrative independence by the Additional Provision No. 35 added to the Law No. 2547 on Higher Education following the enactment of the Law No. 7033 on 1st July 2017. Since the beginning, the Council is running all of its activities as well as standards, guidelines and criteria in complete transparency sharing all with its internal and external stakeholders in the webpage. The Council paid utmost priority and importance to run its processes in conjunction with international Higher Education Quality Assurance standards and guidelines, at the most with the ESG.
In the external quality assurance (EQA) processes the THEQC requires Institutional Self-Evaluation Reports (ISERs) on annual basis. These ISERs are reviewed by both the visiting teams assigned to perform the external visit of that specific HEI prior to site visit individually, as well as the THEQC to collectively analyze them in forming the annual situation report on Turkish Higher Education System in general. The visiting teams for the HEIs are assigned by the THEQC from the pool of the external evaluation experts, who underwent regular trainings by the THEQC for standardization of the EQA site visits and writing the Institutional Feedback Reports (IFRs). Once the draft ISERs are prepared by the visiting team, it is shared with the the Rector of the HEI for being reviewed for any major discrepancy or errors within 21 days. Then it is returned to the visiting team leader to be finalized before being submitted to the THEQC. Both the ISERs and the IFRs are published in the homepage of the HEIs as well as the webpage of the THEQC. As the EQA site visits do not carry an accreditation goal, the reports underline the strengths, aspects to be improved and examples of good practice - if present – of the HEI but no final decision of success or failure. The follow-ups of the HEIs are done by the required annual ISERs and the HEIs undergo external evaluation every five years.
8 Criterion: Quality assurance:
Measure: The description of the processes and criteria applied should be transparent and publicly available and normally include:
self evaluation, site visit, public report and follow-up measure
Description: The THEQC contributes to the progress of quality assurance system within HEIs by requesting ISERs on annual basis. The THEQC has also performed the institutional external evaluation of HEIs through independent and well-trained as well as experienced external evaluation teams. According to the related rules and regulations, HEIs are required to undergo institutional external evaluation at least once in every five years. The main purpose of institutional external evaluation program is to evaluate processes related to learning and teaching, research and development, and governance system of HEIs. The external evaluation teams prepare IFRs after their site visits, which are the most valuable output of the external evaluation process of HEIs. THEQC and HEIs publicly announce and share both ISERs and IFRs through their official web pages in terms of transparency principle. As an evidence of internalization of the accountability principle, THEQC identifies strengths and weaknesses of higher education system by publishing “Annual Situation Reports” through the consolidation of both ISERs and IFRs. In this Annual Situation Report, THEQC sheds light to the drawbacks as well as the gains/improvements of the higher education system in Turkey from a holistic approach. Every stakeholder of the higher education system can benefit from this report in designing its strategies and policies.
In addition to institutional external evaluation program, THEQC also authorizes accreditation agencies operating in the Turkish Higher Education Quality Assurance System, which provide external evaluation and accreditation services for programs in higher education institutions. In line with its internationalization vision, the THEQC recognizes international accreditation agencies as well. During 2019, the THEQC built up mutual collaboration with three international accreditation agencies, which showed evidence of compliance with ESG as well as with national standards and principles. Besides, THEQC gave authorization to 11 national accreditation agencies from different disciplines.
Finally, THEQC arranges activities for the development and dissemination of quality culture in higher education system. In parallel, THEQC provides guidance services, organizes events and engages in various publishing activities that help HEIs to build up a quality assurance culture in higher education system. Organizing trainings, workshops and meetings; distributing guideline documents; publishing Council’s e-newsletter; developing “Quality Assurance Management Information System-QAMIS” for HEIs; creating an online platform with training videos and knowledge-base; implementing mentorship program for the HEIs that will undergo institutional external evaluation are among the prominent activities of THEQC. It is also noteworthy to mention the development and usage of a distinctive “QAMIS”, which has several interfaces for different users such as HEIs, external evaluation teams, accreditation agencies, and the members of THEQC. The QAMIS facilitates procedures, enables monitoring of the improvements over the years for HEIs, and reduces the workload of different users.


Criteria Requirements for Institutional Member

Institutional Member Criteria:
Measure: Institutional Members are institutions of higher education in the region that are in good standing with the relevant quality assurance agency if one exists.
Proof of recognition as a Higher Education Institution: Applicable Only For Institutional Members
Proof of the organisation’s good standing with the local QA agency: Applicable Only For Institutional Members

Criteria Requirements for Associate Member

Associate Member Criteria:
Measure:Associate Members are organisations with a major interest and active involvement in evaluation, accreditation and quality assurance in higher education, but without the responsibility for assuring the quality of institutions, education programs, or external quality assurance agencies
Applicable Only For Associate Members

Criteria Requirements for Intermediate Member

1 Criterion: Nature of the operations of the agency:
Measure: The agency is responsible for reviews at institutional or programme level of post-secondary education institutions or post-secondary quality assurance agencies
Description: Applicable Only For Intermediate Members
2 Criterion: Mission statement and objectives:
Measure: The agency has formulated a mission statement and objectives which are consistent with the nature of the agency
Applicable Only For Intermediate Members
3 Criterion: :
Proof of the organisation’s good standing with the local QA agency
Applicable Only For Intermediate Members

Criteria Requirements for Observer

Criterion For Observers:
Measure: APQN accepts as Observers organisations outside the Asia-Pacific region, including: external quality assurance agencies; institutions with a major interest in evaluation, accreditation and quality assurance in higher education; other regional networks that have major interests in and strong links with the region
Criteria Requirements for Observer: Applicable Only For Observers

Documentation and Fees

Additional Information: No additional information is required for my application
Upon approval of my application I agree to pay:
  • $500 (Initial Joining Fee: Full Member, Intermediate Member, Associate Member)
I will be applying for support for: None

Documents Submitted
















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