Turkish universities have stepped up efforts to attract more foreign students.
According to UNESCO, 3.1 million students around the world study in countries other than their own. Turkish universities have their eye on this $110 billion market and are setting out to entice 100,000 foreign students to come to Turkey over the next eight years. On average, a foreign student contributes $30,000 a year to the local economy, which means $3 billion from 100,000 foreign students.
UNESCO predicts there will be seven million students studying abroad by 2020. These students have displayed a preference for moving to the US, Great Britain, Australia, Germany and France.
In recent years, Middle Eastern and Asian countries have made impressive strides in attracting foreign students. Malaysia, Singapore, and China have succeeded in grabbing 12.1% of the global student market.
The Turkish Universities Promotion Agency was established to provide publicity for Turkish schools abroad. The agency’s founder, Deniz Akar, explained the need for its services:
“We have more than 100 state and some 70 private universities in Turkey, and the number will soon reach 200. While we are sending tens of thousands of students abroad every year, only a few thousand foreign students come to Turkey. Today, there are nearly 100,000 Turkish students abroad, and we have about 18,000 foreign students here. There is only one way to increase this number. As England, the US, Australia, Germany, France, Holland and Canada have done for years, [we must] determine our target countries and do our best to publicize Turkey and Turkish universities there.”
The agency has started publishing a periodical entitled “Study in Turkey,” and is also building a web site, www.studyinturkey.com. The periodical and website will provide information on the Turkish university system, exchange programs, communications, transportation, scholarships and campus life.