Education & Science
Common culture, language and history of the Turkic Speaking States are the main pillars that underpin the cooperation under Turkic Council, making this regional cooperation unique in comparison to others. It was symbolic that the Second Summit of the Turkic Council was held under the theme of “Educational, Scientific and Cultural Cooperation”.
Cooperation in the field of Science and Education are the best tools for social change, economic development, and prosperity in our countries. It also proved to be an essential instrument for promoting and consolidating the collective consciousness of the young Turkic generations around commonly shared values of language, history, and culture.
Four meetings of Ministers of Education were held so far, while Senior Officials of the Ministries of Education (SOM) assembled six times with the last meeting taking place on 15-16 June 2017 in Istanbul. The finalization process of the Common Turkic History Textbook covering the period until the 15th century and the preparation of the Draft Concept Paper of the Common Geography Textbook form an indispensable part of the SOM meetings.
The prospective implementations of the exchange programs among educational professionals and students of secondary/high schools, and the activities carried out within the Turkic Council Turkic University Union are top priorities of the partnership in the sphere of science and education as well.
Cooperation among the Schools
The cooperation among the schools includes three main focus areas: the exchange program for students, the exchange program for educational professionals, and the Sister School Project. All projects in this field are considered as necessary, albeit they are in different stages of development.
Jointly with the respective Ministries of Education, Turkic Council organized two exchange programs for the students of the secondary/high schools in Turkey (2016) and in Azerbaijan (2018). The projects proved to propel the students towards acceptance and understanding of similar cultural values and perspectives. They also enhance familiarization of students with other Turkic languages and increases awareness and general knowledge of the students towards the brotherly Turkic states. It is projected that the next exchange program will take place in Kazakhstan.
The SOM has well advanced for setting to start the exchange for educational professional and launch Sister School Project as well. They approved the concept papers of the said initiatives and will deliver the presentation of the efforts at the next ministerial meeting. If accepted, the Turkish side is ready to undertake the first responsibilities regarding the exchange program for educational professionals. The future projects promise to be a meaningful, reciprocal and sustainable long-term partnership among the schools of the Turkic states.
Common Turkic Textbooks
The Member States worked diligently to arrive at agreed, time-bound commitment to pursue the shared aspirations regarding the first and one-of-a-kind textbook on the common Turkic history. Professional historians' expertise was involved in the preparation of the book, which covers the historical period until the 15th century. One of the most robust and substantial achievements of the cooperative teamwork, the said textbook is ready for the final review of the ministers, after which it will be presented at the Summit of the Heads of State.
The Turkic Academy also had instructions to initiate the writing of textbooks on common Turkic geography and literature. The concept of the Common Turkic Geography Textbook is ready and is sealing its fate to the next SOM meeting, after which Turkic Academy will continue to develop it. On the other hand, the Academy is concurrently working on the finalization of the draft concept of the Common Turkic Literature Textbook. The experts of the field will develop the book by integrating the views and recommendations of the Member States.
Cooperation among Universities
Established after the ministers signed on the Directive in 2013 in Eskişehir, Turkic University Union (Union) promotes different modes of cooperation among the universities of the Member States. Since 2014, the number of member universities grew from 14 to 18. During the last General Assembly (2018), Azerbaijan University of Languages, Dosmukhamedov Atyrau University of Kazakhstan and Osh State University of Kyrgyzstan became the new members of the Union. The applications of the Cappadocia University from Turkey and Azerbaijan State Oil and Industry University are currently being assessed.
The Union has many lines of action such as the Orkhun Exchange Program, Sports Games of the Union and Student Council. To get ahead in the said programs, since 2014, the Secretariat organized five meetings at the level of Rectors and Vice-rectors and three General Assemblies. The former helps coordinate the activities within the Union while the latter adopts necessary decisions relating to the organizations of the Union.
The Secretariat advanced dramatically on the way to making the Orkhun process a fully-fledged exchange program. Over the past four years, the Turkic Council convened a variety of different thematic meetings aiming at integrating diverse educational modalities of the member universities such as the Bologna Process, Erasmus Plus, and European Credit Transfer System. These meetings included different sectoral and technical gatherings, field studies on the spot, and extraordinary conventions. As a result, during the 5th Union meeting, the parties adopted the draft regulation of the program, which was a massive step in its realization. The sides started the pilot phase of the project in the academic year 2017-2018. 43 students of member universities from the departments of International Relations and Political Science benefited from the program. With the succeeding inclusion of the Turkology Department into the pilot phase, as agreed by the parties at the last General Assembly of the Union, the number of students for the next academic years will increase substantially.
Started recently, the Sports Games, held within the Union, is another platform that served the purposes of establishing a tradition of sports events/competitions within the structure and promoting solidarity and ties of friendship among the university students in the Turkic states. The former Chair-in-Office Kyrgyzstan-Turkey Manas University organized the first games. The sports games proved a significant success by bringing together more than 300 athletes from member universities. The current Chair-in-Office of the Union Khoja Akhmet Yassawi University will host the next sports games in 2019.
Another recent initiative within the Union, the Student Council, convened three meeting since its inception. Organization of cultural nights, friendship tournaments, and other social events that foster the sense of belongingness and inclusion among the participants are standing on the shoulders of the Student Council members.
Since its initiation, the Turkic University Union owns and operates large and successful record labels such as Orkhun Exchange Program or Student Council. Besides these, the direct coordination of the former Chair-in-Office Kyrgyzstan-Turkey Manas University helped accomplish prominent endeavors such as Tourism Guide of the Turkic World, the report briefing the relations among the Member States over the last 25 years and the document on the universal citizenship education among the Turkic peoples.