Council of Higher Education Turns Universities into Centers of Culture and Art


The Council of Higher Education (YÖK) and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism have signed a cooperation protocol to enhance collaboration for increasing and supporting artistic, cultural and social activities among the academic and administrative staff and students of the higher education institutions in Turkey, as well as to strengthen cooperation between the central and provincial units of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and higher education institutions.

The first steps toward an initiative had already been taken by Prof. M.A. Yekta Saraç, the President of YÖK, that encompasses efforts to “turn universities into centers of culture and art as well as of science and support students’ visits to museums and archaeological sites”. This initiative has now been brought to the last step as a result of negotiations with Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, Minister of Culture and Tourism, and the authorities in the Ministry and the protocol on collaboration between the Ministry and YÖK was signed by Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, Minister of Culture and Tourism, and Prof. M.A. Yekta Saraç, the President of YÖK.

In his ceremonial speech, YÖK President Saraç noted that the protocol with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism is a first in the country and said "The protocol involves an action plan to make our universities centers of perfection by using their conservatories and conference halls to serve the general public conjointly with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.”

Underlining the importance attached to this project by YÖK, President Saraç said: “The cards to be issued under the name ‘Müzekart Akademi’ will allow our university students and faculty members to visit museums and archaeological sites and integrate with the historical and cultural fabric of the cities, thereby raising awareness."

Saraç noted that the Ministry will announce the specifics shortly and the pilot universities to be identified under the protocol will be offering courses on "city and civilization".

He said that "we plan to devise an applied curriculum involving trips for these courses" and joint initiatives by the Ministry and YÖK require a substantial amount of coordination, for which they will create commissions in YÖK where Ministry representatives will also be present.

President Saraç noted that they will also support training and certification initiatives in areas needed by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and thanked Minister Ersoy for his contributions.

- State Theaters may perform in universities

As part of the cooperation protocol between the Ministry and YÖK, some of the official events such as theater plays and concerts organized by State Theaters and General Directorates of Fine Arts may also be held in university campuses with proper halls and infrastructure.

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism will issue a certain number of “Calls for Event Support” to higher education institutions throughout the year. In this context, YÖK will identify the priority institutions to be supported for event calls every year.

Among the higher education institutions responding to these calls, those selected given the technical specifications of their halls will be added to the official program of the General Directorates of State Theaters and Fine Arts, which will be able to hold their events in the halls and campuses of universities in different cities throughout the year.

- “Müzekart Akademi”: Museum card for university students and faculty members

As part of the collaboration between the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and YÖK, university students and faculty members will be issued the card called "Müzekart Akademi", which offers discount and various advantages in museums and archaeological sites. Arrangements will be made for the promotion and sale of Müzekart Akademi in higher education institutions.

- “Cultural trips” will be supported

The scope and content will be devised for the courses on ‘City and Civilization’ with support for trips and visits to museums and archaeological sites as part of these courses, along with support for the “Cultural Trips” planned at the end of each year for those students who complete the courses within a certain success range.

- The protocol also involves the following:

- Access of the students, academic and administrative staff of universities will be facilitated to printed and digital publications and materials contained in the central and local offices of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

- The Ministry will provide contributions in kind to support and encourage university students to attend appropriate cultural and art activities.

- YÖK will lend support to certification and other training programs needed and demanded by the Ministry.

- As per the Council of Ministers / Presidential Decree, archaeological excavations and research by the relevant departments of universities will be subsidized by YÖK.

- To facilitate bilateral relations, a liaison office will be created under the Ministry of Culture to maintain contact with higher education institutions.