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Countries and communities that are fulfilling the necessities of our era and corresponding to the rapid developments will be able to rule in coming centuries. Being aware of this reality, Turkey prepares its citizens for the future while making great effort to contribute to the development processes of developing countries.

In the Islamic world of today, vocational and technical education is gaining much importance with each day passing. It is because the problem of unemployment is becoming more and more evident in spite of all efforts and nearly half of the job seekers do not have professional competence. On the other hand, industry can not find the required qualified manpower. Despite all these facts, the demand for vocational and technical education in Turkey and other Islamic countries is decreasing.

Societies in Islamic countries attach so much importance to having a bachelor’s degree. But people that have a bachelor’s degree without a vocational formation are also candidates to be a member of the army of unemployed people. In this point, the promotion of vocational and technical education becomes more of an issue. So in terms of the importance of vocational-technical education in Islamic countries, one should create awareness in every communal sections and encourage opportunities between governmental layers and business environments, contribute to the education of qualified manpower and encourage the youth to have vocational education. And for this to happen, upper stage students that have been accepted to vocational schools are to have the necessary qualifications, and these schools should become reputable institutions that provides professionalization during the education process and a honorable certificate after the process. The qualification of graduates must be identified by exams determining comparability of their proficiency internationally. Moreover the comprehension that everyone should have a bachelor’s degree must be turned into the comprehension that everyone should have a job, and for this comprehension to become widespread, guidance activities must be concentrated on.

When the issue is Turkey, the problems that are related with Imam Hatip High Schools are seen to affect all the other vocational-technical training areas. And it is quite possible that same kind of problems might occur in other Islamic countries. In order to find a solution to the problems of unemployment and qualified manpower, vocational schools must be abstracted from these kinds of off-site problems.

In the century that we are in, vocational and technical man power that adapts to changing conditions, problem-solving, good at communicating, effective in group studies and equipped with the technical skills that his/her job requires is the driving force of development. But it does not seem likely for educational institutions to develop these qualifications all by themselves. The dynamic structure of vocational and technical education which is very sensitive to the changing conditions of the world makes it an obligation for these institutions to develop their aims, structures and programs all the time.

On the other side, the information given at vocational schools are mostly not practicable in the business world. All those information are not used at establishments, while the information that establishments need in the business world are not taught in vocational schools. One of the primary reasons of this problem is that the curriculum of vocational schools does not get updated properly.

Turkey has long been working on developing the vocational education system so as to increase employment opportunities in every sectors of the economy and to improve the quality of manpower. This effort of the country becomes more meaningful in the context of its competitiveness amongst the other primary economies of the world and its becoming a part of the European Union. In this context, Turkey has established its autonomous Institution of Vocational Qualification (MYK) in 2006 in order to establish a national qualification system based on social dialog.

Turkey has developed and implemented some project ideas with the purpose of closing the blank between the output of vocational and technical schools. In the period of 2003-2007, an agreement of the Strengthening the Vocational Education and Training System in Turkey Project (MEGEP) was signed between Turkish Republic and the European Union. Furthermore, the Project of “Vocational High Schools: a crucial matter for the Nation” (MLMM) is being progressed with the cooperation of private sector and the Ministry of National Education.

The efforts to find a solution to the problem of vocational and technical education are taking place in other Islamic countries too, as they are in Turkey. At least most of the authorities know about the deficiency on this area and they express their desire to find a solution for this problem at every opportunity. Right on this point, the sharing of experiences on the fields of vocational and technical education, executing the universal aspects of this problem and its country specific dimensions and exploring potential cooperation opportunities on this field gain so much importance.

With its modern education structure and its’ progress on the way to the EU, Turkey has such a significant knowledge and experience which can be shared with Islamic countries. Adding up a new activity to the already existing ones arranged in the frame of Islamic Conference Organization might increase the effectiveness and prestige of Turkey amongst these countries.

The international scientific meeting with the title of “The Congress of Education in the Islamic Countries” will be held by TASAM, whose subject has never been mentioned before. During this congress to be held, there will be made an assessment of the vocational and technical education problems of the member countries of Islamic Conference Organization, current situations of the countries will be uttered by the experts of this field and more importantly, a common vision will be designated on the areas of qualified personnel exchange, cooperation and mutual aid.

Süleyman ŞENSOY
Chairman of TASAM