As we all know, since the beginning of the year 2020, our country, and our world, has seen a pandemic like never before. Upon the emergence of the first recorded case in our country in March 2020, formal education was ceased at educational facilities of all levels. This was followed by a resolution by the Board of Higher Education for education at all universities to proceed online in the Spring semester of 2019-2020.
In line with the aforementioned decision, our university implemented distance education for the Spring semester, and the Summer School of 2019-2020. The Board of Higher Education has left the official boards of universities to decide on the manner of education to be offered in the Academic Year of 2020-2021. Within this framework, our university preferred the hybrid method, taking the necessary precautions to safeguard the health of our students, and our employees; a method where some courses are offered completely online, while some courses are formal and extended to weekends, and some are offered in an alternated, “hybrid” way. The Senate meeting on the issue resolved with the decision for the exams to be implemented formally, and an announcement was made accordingly, when the semester began.
Within the framework of the conditions that followed weekend lock-downs were initiated, and our university started to offer most of our formal and hybrid courses online. However, exams were continued to be implemented formally. It has been our experience that some of our students continue to criticize the fact that our exams are now formal, proposing false statements and accusations on certain platforms.
As the Atılım University Senate, we are deeply concerned in the way educational facilities are portrayed and perceived as one of the key elements for contamination. We believe that the efforts to construct the public perception that ceasing formal education is the only way to end the outbreak while no interruptions seem to be the case in the long run for any other area of activity in the light of the outbreak is very troubling, regarding the future of our country. We are worried that a loss by a year to a year and a half in education at all levels is to breed serious adversities; since distance education and online exams never match formal education. Furthermore, online exams give way to injustice among students. We are deeply saddened to be witnessing discussions among media platforms regarding the reasons why exams are proceeding formally, rather than discussions on the adversities to expect in the coming years for a generation undergoing a loss in education that is now reaching alarming levels.
As Atılım University, we are determined to continue our educational services in line with our awareness for duty and our mission, within the global understanding of “university”. Our University prioritizes the health of our students. In this regard, we have taken, and shall continue to take, top-level measures for our students to continue their education in the best, and healthiest, manner. Within this framework;
- Temperature measurements and HES Code inquiries are implemented at campus entrances.
- Campus buildings are disinfected regularly.
- We run inquiries regarding the HES Codes of our members and students through the Ministry of Health database. Our students with suspicious HES codes (positive or in contact) are called, and the relevant course instructors are informed. No members or students with suspicious HES codes are admitted into the campus.
- Our students with chronic health conditions take their exams online.
- All open and closed spaces within the campus have undergone various arrangements to implement social distance.
- Masks are mandatory within the campus.
- School buses are disinfected regularly. The ventilation systems of our school buses pump in 100% fresh air, and regular maintenance procedures are in place to ensure such. Maximum seating capacities are implemented on school buses. Masks are mandatory on school buses.
- Finally, in collaboration with Hacettepe University, PCR tests are to be implemented from this week onwards, for our members and students, depending on the symptoms that they exhibit.
Owing to the measures taken by our University, and the care exerted by our members and our students, formal exams at our campus do not pose any additional risks. In addition, so far, no adversities have been detected in the audits by institutions performing audits against Covid-19.
In this regard, we would like to extend our gratitude to the Ministry of Health, the Board of Higher Education, the Ankara Governorship, the Ankara Governorship Provincial Directorate of Health, the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality, the Gölbaşı District Governorship and the Gölbaşı Municipality, for supporting our university in our efforts to continue education.
On this occasion, and expressing our hopes that our country and the world leave behind the extraordinary case at hand, we would like to wish our members and our students a healthy day and a happy new year.