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TC to Partner with Turkish University


TC to Partner with Turkish University

TC President Susan Furhman and Enver Yucel, Chair of the Bahcesehir University Board of Trustees

TC to Partner with Turkish University

TC President Susan Furhman and Enver Yűcel, Chair of the Bahçeşehir University Board of Trustees

Teachers College signed a memorandum of understanding with Instanbul's Bahcesehir University on February 5 to foster a wide-ranging collaboration that includes assisting the Turkish institution in establishing a school of education and launching a center for education and economic development.

TC President Susan Furhman and Enver Yucel, Chair of the Bahcesehir University Board of Trustees, signed the memorandum at an afternoon ceremony at the College. The partnership is unique for TC because Bahcesehir is part of an educational group, founded by Yucel, which operates some 45 nursery, primary and high schools, a network of university entrance exam tutoring centers, and one of Turkey's largest educational publishing houses.

"Teachers College is among the most distinguished schools of education in the world," Yucel said through a translator. "Whatever we try to do in the field of education, we always try to do it with the highest quality. All the high schools, all the primary schools that we have established can be considered among the best K-12 schools in the world. Our university has only a history of 10 years and we are opening a school of education and we want to establish this school with the support of the strongest schools of education in the world."
The partnership is the latest in a series of international collaborative initiatives that TC has entered into in the last year, including in India, Jordan, Bhutan, the Dominican Republic and Korea. TC's collaboration with Bahcesehir (pronounced BAK-eh-sheer) is spearheaded by Francisco Rivera-Batiz, Professor of Economics and Education, who has been working with officials at the Turkish university on shaping the contours of the partnership for almost a year.

The first phase of the collaboration, Rivera-Batiz said, will be developing the jointly administered center on education and economic development. The center will be research intensive, he said, focusing on the economic and financial aspects of educational systems "with the goal of seeking answers that we can apply to the development of Turkey and other developing countries." Rivera-Batiz said the new center will likely have a Web site up and running later this year that he hopes will serve as a leading source of information on education and economic development.

Also involved in the initial phase of the collaboration will be Madhabi Chatterji, Associate Professor of Measurement and Evaluation in the Department of Organization and Leadership, who will work with professors at Bahcesehir to develop measurement and evaluation tools for K-12 schools. Other possible aspects of the partnership include student and faculty exchanges and conferences.

"This is truly exciting in so many ways for us," Fuhrman said. "We, of course, have a history of engagement in international efforts. This particular opportunity offers us the possibility of being involved with a new graduate school of education at its inception. Think how much we'll learn about ourselves as we try to help you develop a state-of-the-art graduate school of education."

Sinem Vatanartiran, general manager of the Bahcesehir group's K-12 schools, said establishing an education school is an imperative for the university. Currently, the Bahcesehir group, known as the Bahcesehir Ugur Educational Institutions, operates 21 primary and secondary schools. The goal, she said, is to push that number up to 50 within the next few years. Vatanartiran expects the government to grant approval of the university's request to establish an education school in March or April, and work on developing the school should begin soon after.

"This is really important for us because, as you can see, we have so many educational institutions and we really want to train new teachers for Turkey and for the global world," she said.

Bahcesehir, which enrolls 10,000 students and was founded in 1998 by the Bahcesehir group's educational foundation, is among the first wave of private, not-for-profit universities in Turkey. The Turkish government moved to allow the establishment of private universities 15 years ago, and today 36 of the 130 universities in Turkey are private.

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