Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Teacher Candidates' Opinions on Erasmus Student Exchange Program

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Teacher Candidates' Opinions on Erasmus Student Exchange Program

Article excerpt

Educational systems are relatively new mentions for countries, coming mainly with industrialization. While educational policies were once considered a national issue, with the globalization, this they have gained an international characteristic, causing their respective policies to change in line with a globalized world. Today, this change is particularly visible in higher education services. The qualified labor force and the financial support brought by the higher education market have been influential in the formation of this process (Gül, 2013; Knight, 2004; Marshall, 2005). Turkey has been conducting studies to provide equal opportunities in schooling, to ensure the balance between supply and demand, and to decrease the differences between welfare levels throughout its various regions. While establishing a university in each province has been the first step in this direction, efforts to ensure a certain standard of quality are still in progress. In this vein, student exchange programs have shown particular progress (Erdogan, 2014). Today, student exchange programs have gained functionality on the global level, and Turkey has focused on European Union (EU) agreements during this process. Turkey has worked to become a member of the EU, and one of the negation titles, which is also important for Turkey, is the issue of education. Turkey has played an active role in the process because it wants to obtain positive results from the negotiations on education and wants to increase the quality of higher education on the global level (Aba, 2013; Bologna Process, 2010; Devlet Planlana Teskilati [DPT], 2000; Tekin, 2011; Ulusal Ajans, 2005; Yüksekögretim Kurulu [YÖK], 2007).

Turkey, as well as EU member and other candidate countries, has formed a National Agency responsible for the introduction, function, observation, and evaluation of student and lecturer exchange programs. On December 22, 2002, Turkey signed agreements with the EU Commission on financial support and on what work needed to be done in order to become an EU member. Furthermore, Turkey signed the Preparatory Measures Agreements on the Leonardo, Socrates, and Youth programs as well as the Socrates Program Pilot Applications Agreements, finishing preparations by December of 2003 (Topçu, 2011, p. 9).

The basic aim of these processes is to form a European Higher Education Field (EHEF) and prepare an action plan to ensure the quality of the higher education in Europe (Yagci, Çetin, & Turhan, 2013). One of the important components of this field is the Erasmus [European Scheme for the Mobility of University Students] exchange program (Boyaci, 2011; YÖK, 2007). The Erasmus Program was formed to ensure the mobility of students, lecturers, and administrators among countries and to support the acceptance of the diplomas and educational processes being excepted throughout Europe (AB Egitim ve Gençlik Programlari Merkezi Baskanligi, 2005; Kis & Konan, 2012; E. Sahin, 2013). As one of the EU's educational programs, Erasmus aims to promote an understanding that will develop communication, integration, respect, and tolerance among people from different cultures (Demir & Demir, 2009; YÖK, 2007). In addition, it holds that receiving education and/or professional training in another country would provide participants with dynamic experiences and knowledge. It has been observed in the light of the studies conducted by Success and Stories (2007) that today's employers extend more opportunities to those individuals who have spent time studying abroad, who have obtained foreign language proficiency, who cooperate well with other, and who are able to understand different cultures. When student exchange programs are evaluated, it is observed that students have begun to prefer European universities for higher education purpose, causing the face of higher education in Europe to have changed. The Erasmus Program has formed an environment of global competition on all vocational levels and areas having international characteristics. …

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