HIGHER EDUCATION IN NORTH CYPRUS, 31.01.2016
HIGHER EDUCATION IN NORTH CYPRUS
North Cyprus as a Hub of Higher Education:
Cyprus is the third largest Island of the Mediterranead Sea with favorable climate, pollution free environment and beaches.
In North Cyprus, one will receive quality higher education an international standards with relatively low tuition fees and various choices for dormitory/accomodation facilities. Universities in North Cyprus offer hundreds of different programs integrated with the Turkish higher education system. The student visa process is not strict. These are some factors that make North Cyprus as attractive place for students.
Higher education, which constitutes 24% of the economy in North Cyprus, is actively encouraged and promoted by the tate. This is why North Cyprus is considered as “an oasis of higher education”.
Universities in North Cyprus:
The population of North Cyprus is almost 300.000. There are 12 universities with 81.000 students in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). There exist 47.000 Turkish students from Turkey, 12.000 Turkish Cypriot Students,and 22.000 international students. There are students from 140 countries and teaching staff 65 countries. These figures depict the international character of higher education in the TRNC.
The names of the universities are Eastern Mediterranean University (1979), Girne American University (1985), Near East University (1988), Lefke European University (1990), Cyprus International University (1996), Middle East Technical University North Cyprus Campus (2004), Istanbul Technical University North Cyprus Campus (2009), Mediterranean Karpaz University (2012), University of Kyrenia (2013), The British University of Nicosia(2013), Cyprus Social Sciences University (2014) and American University of Cyprus (2014). All of these universities are accredited by the Council of Higher Education for Planning, Evaluation, Accreditation an Coordination (YÖDAK) of the TRNC and the Higher Education Council of Turkey (YÖK).
The higher education institutions offer Associate Degrees (2-years vocational education), Undergraduate Degrees (4-years), Master’s Degrees (1-2 years) and Doctorate Degrees (3-4 years).
Current position of Higher Education Institutions in International Membership Networking
From the very beginning of the independence of the Island in 1960, the Turkish Cypriot side has been dealing with its own educational matters. Under the 1960 Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus, both Turkish Cypriots and Greeks Cypriots were empowered with autonomy in communal affairs, whereby their separate Communal Chambers exercised full authority in all educational, religious and cultural matters, as well as questions of personal status (Articles 20 and 87). Therefore, the universities in Northern Cyprus reserve their right to engage in bilateral agreements with other countries and to be accredited by relevant bodies.
Many of the universities in North Cyprus are accredited by international accreditation authorities such as AS, ABET, MUDEK, TedQual, Edexcel-UK, MIAK, FIBAA, IACBE, ECBE, EAQUALS, ACPE, AACSB, UK-NARIC. TRNC universities are full members of European Universities Association (EUA), the International Association of Universities (IAU), and the Federation of the Universities of the Islamic World (FUIW).
Degrees of the universities are widely recognized and accepted all over the world. All graduates of the universities of North Cyprus enjoy the capacity to find job easily all over the world thanks to the education they received in TRNC.
The functions of the Council of Higher Education for Planning, Evaluation, Accreditation and Coordination (YÖDAK)
YÖDAK was established as an autonomous body with juristic personality. The functions of YÖDAK are to plan, organize and observe the applications, to audit and follow the accreditation procedures of the institutions of higher education in North Cyprus and to be responsible as Quality Assurance Agency in Higher Education.
The higher education institutions are important for the welfare of society. As education is an element of sustainable development. North Cyprus aims to raise productivity by bringing together international cultures and rendering quality services to contribute to planning, evaluation and accreditation of programmes.
YÖDAK is an associate member of European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA). YÖDAK is a full member of International Network for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (INQAAHE) and Central and Eastern European Network of Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (CEENQA). YÖDAK is a board member of the Association of Quality Assurance Agencies of the Islamic World (AQAAIW).
Political Factor and Developments in Cyprus:
The Republic of Cyprus was founded in 1960 in accordance with international treaties. The Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot peoples, in their respective capacities as two political equals, entered into a partnership, setting up a joint State. The legitimacy of the 1960 Republic lay in the joint presence and effective participation of both peoples in all organs of the State. Neither of the parties had the right to rule the other or assume the right to be the Government of the other or the Island as a whole in the absence of the other in all organs of the State and its Government.
After the well-known event of December 1963, the partnership Republic of Cyprus collapsed and since then, there has not been a joint central administration in the Island, capable of representing the whole of Cyprus, either legally or factually.
Each side has since ruled itself, while the Greek Cypriot side has continued to claim that it is the “Government of Cyprus”.
Separate and simultaneous referenda which was held on 24 April 2004 in the TRNC and South Cyprus on the UN Comprehensive Settlement Plan was approved in the Turkish Cypriot referendum by 65% while 76 % of the Greek Cypriot people rejected it. The separate and simultaneous referenda confirmed the fact that there exist two equal peoples on the Island, neither of which represents the other.
Four years after the referenda of 2004, a new round of full-fledged negotiations towards finding a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus issue started between the two sides. Progress achieved by the two leaders during the negotiations that took place from 2008 to 2012, was recorded in convergence papers prepared by the two sides, which in turn was compiled by the UN in a 77-page document in April 2013. These convergences, as well as the established UN parameters and the body of work, constituted the basis of the negotiating process.
There was a brief pause in the process due to the election of Anastasiades as the new Greek Cypriot leader in 2013. However, following intense discussions and constructive steps taken by the Turkish Cypriot side, a Joint Declaration was concluded by the two Leaders on 11 February 2014, enabling the resumption of negotiations.With the Joint Declaration, the two Leaders reaffirmed their aim for the establishment of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation based on political equality and that this federation will have a single sovereignty which emanates equally from the Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots. The federation will be composed of two constituent states of equal status and neither side will claim authority or jurisdiction over the other.
The latest political developments in Cyprus are promising. A new window of opportunity has emerged following the decision of the Greek Cypriot side to return to the negotiation table soon after the election of His Excellency Mr. Mustafa Akıncı as the new Turkish Cypriot President.
The two leaders, President Akıncı and Mr. Anastasiades resumed the full-fledged negotiations on 15 May 2015, with the presence of the UN Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide. Following the first meeting, they expressed their strong commitment, to move forward in a constructive and dedicated manner towards reaching a comprehensive settlement as soon as possible.
Sides, expeditiously completing the screening process, moved to the substantive negotiations. During the course of the intensified negotiation process all core issues of the Cyprus question have been discussed by the two sides. The parties have, so far, managed to achieve significant progress on the issues of Governance and Power Sharing; Economic Matters and European Union Matters. Convergences on legislative, executive and judicial affairs are in line with the parameters of political equality of the two peoples, as well as the equal status of the two Constituent States.
In parallel with the ongoing negotiation process, it is pertinent for the position of the Turkish Cypriot side to be heard on all international platforms. It is equally important for the international community to support and protect the negotiations, which includes engaging in dialogue with both sides of the Island.
The Turkish Cypriot side maintains its strong commitment towards a structured, result-oriented negotiation process as foreseen by the Joint Declaration of 11 February 2014 and sincerely believes that through an intensified negotiation process, which can be supported by confidence-building measures, an agreement is within reach in months, not years, ideally before the general elections which will be held in the Greek Cypriot side in May 2016. This possibility has also been confirmed by Greek Cypriot Leader Anastasiades, who stated that he hopes to have results before the Greek Cypriot elections. With no doubt, a permanent solution to the Cyprus problem would have positive repercussions on a wider area including the Eastern Mediterranean.
Opportunities in Higher Education in North Cyprus
In parallel with its efforts to reach a comprehensive settlement on the Island, the Turkish Cypriot side also strives to reach international standards in all fields of life, as well as developing its economy. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is a peaceful, welcoming, and safe destination attracting tourists from all over the world. The island of Cyprus is at a historically and strategically significant location, situated at the crossroads between east and west. For this reason, many civilizations have ruled the Island and left their mark on its cultural heritage. The untouched beaches and natural beauty of the Island have also earned it the title ‘a corner of earth touched by heaven’.
All the hotels and other touristic facilities situated within the boundaries of the TRNC are functioning according to international standards. The legislation in force regarding the permits, licences and functioning regulations are on a par with that of the European Union. Moreover, the crime rate in North Cyprus is well below that of South Cyprus and European average. Furthermore, Cyprus enjoys year-round moderate climate and offers sporting and cultural activities, such as mountain-climbing, scuba-diving, paragliding, visits to historical sites, village festivities and a fusion of Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine.
The TRNC has a modern and well-equipped airport (Ercan Airport) and two seaports (Famagusta and Kyrenia) which are fully operational. In this connection, data shows that Ercan has become a steadily growing airport which serves over 2,000,000 passengers every year. There are thousands more which arrive from Larnaca Airport in South Cyprus and cross over the North to spend their holidays. Many Greek Cypriot citizens also use Ercan Airport to travel purposes.