Esra Ülkar – ISTANBUL
All the places reserved for theology and law faculties across Turkish universities have been filled for the 2017-2018 academic year, despite over 210,000 places announced as unfilled for other departments.
According to education experts, the reason why students chose to purse degrees at the faculties is the prospects of securing jobs once they graduate.
The student selection and placement results announced late on Aug. 8 revealed that a total of 214,430 quotas reserved for faculties across Turkish universities for this year remained unfilled.
Of the total 998 departments - excluding Turkish Cyprus and the Open Education Faculty - 201 filled up all their vacancies, with law and theology faculties becoming the most popular ones.
Of the 15,745 places allocated for law faculties across Turkish universities, and similarly of the 14,538 places for theology faculties, no spot was left empty.
As for the high number of students choosing to attend theology faculties, the experts said the reason was due to the soaring number of religious vocational high school (“imam hatip” in Turkish) students and the fact that graduates of this faculty can become teachers easily once they get a pedagogical formation course. This became easier after the “Religious Culture and Moral Knowledge Teacher” program was shut down at education faculties three years ago.
Other departments to have filled their quotas fully were the two-year programs for postal services, with 1,287 spots, and criminal enforcement and security services, with 650 spots. Students wanting to enroll in these departments were because they believe they can secure jobs in the future, according to experts.
No spots were left vacant in unpopular departments such as art history, Korean language and literature and classical archeology because, according to experts, candidates did not want to spend another year preparing for the university entrance exam, prompting them to go on to studying such degrees at university.
“Faculties such as law, pharmacy, and veterinary medicine fill up as students are highly drawn to them. But the reason why all quotas reserved for some departments, despite not being popular, filling up stems from choices made with hesitation and fear. The department of first aid was preferred highly last year. The department of criminal enforcement and security services has been for the first time opened this year; our students want to work as civil servants and this department is related to the public service, which has most likely influenced [students’ choices],” Salim Ünsal, an education guidance specialist, told daily Hürriyet.