Cambridge opens Turkish talks

May 26, 2000

Cambridge University has entered into talks with Turkey's higher education authority to co-operate on internet tuition.

Anil Seale, of the Cambridge Overseas Trust, has been in discussions with representatives of the authority.

Kemal Guruz, president of the authority, said: "The talks were very productive, although we are at the preliminary stage... but this project can go anywhere."

The authority sees tuition on the internet as having a key role in meeting Turkey's rapidly growing demand for higher education. In the past 20 years, the student population has risen tenfold. Thirty-five per cent of Turkey's students are taught through an Open University-style scheme.

The present talks are about updating and expanding the project. Dr Guruz said: "We envisage prestigious overseas universities, of which Cambridge is one, playing a key role in developing our distance-learning courses."

The talks between the authority and Cambridge follow the signing of a memorandum of intent that commits the two to co-operation over a wide area of higher education.

Dr Seale said: "I see this as one of the big things of the future. Obviously, you are not going to get an Oxbridge education through the internet. I think universities such as Cambridge have a role in validating the intellectual content of courses, seeing that the standards are right and coordinating the courses."

Dr Seale said he expected substantial progress to be made within the year, adding that Turkey, with its young population (more than half the population is under 25) is "an obvious place to try this scheme". The two are due to meet again in the near future.

According to the British Council, Turkey's young population makes it an important market for British universities.

The council has been fostering relations between Turkey and British universities, in face of intense competition, in particular from the United States.

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