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Investigating the University Student's Problems Faced in University Life: A Sample of Turkey

Investigating the University Student's Problems Faced in University Life: A Sample of Turkey

Available online at www.sciencedirect.com ScienceDirect Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 116 (2014) 4905 – 4909 5th World Conference on Edu...

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Available online at www.sciencedirect.com

ScienceDirect Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 116 (2014) 4905 – 4909

5th World Conference on Educational Sciences - WCES 2013

Investigating the university student’s problems faced in university life: A sample of Turkey Zafer Kiraz Gaziosmanpaşa University, Education Faculty, 60150, Tokat, Turkey

Abstract Who comes to a university located in a province like Tokat and how, what are the class origins of students, how do the students affect from neoliberal transformation, how do they maintain their lives in the city they have been, in what conditions do they take shelter in, what are the sources of their income and how much income do they make a living? What are their viewpoints towards the university and its departments, do they have employment anxiety, what are their expectations and considerations towards future? At the same time, students should cope with matters such as adapting to academic and social environment of universities, nourishment and sheltering, meeting academic expectations and requirements, achieving to be independent within acquired social freedom, questioning their relationships with friends and opposite sex, and searching for professional opportunities. To sum up, besides being nice and enjoyable for students, university life is also a period when they encounter with several problems, as well. © 2013 2013 The The Authors. Authors Published by Elsevier Elsevier Ltd. Ltd. All rights reserved © Published by Selectionand/or and peer review under underresponsibility the responsibility of Prof. Dr. Education Servet Bayram Selection peer-review of Academic World and Research Center. Key Words: University, neoliberalism, student problems, university life

1. Introduction In parallel with periodical needs of Capitalism, neoliberal policy, practice and styles which have been falling within the remit of life have undertaken several different functions in order for the reconstruction of reality with neoliberalism language. During this process, the state has created and protected the institutional framework that will include fields such as education, social security and environment which have the potential of creating new profit opportunities for the capital into the market (Harvey, 2005). As a matter of fact, within the last 20-30 years, subjects from education to health and from water resources to social security that were once evaluated within the framework of public assets and public service have been included in to private investment and private expenditure in Turkey as it has been similar in every part of the world (Demirer, 2012). As there has been conspicuously mentioned by Bourdieu, neoliberalism annihilates whole collective structures that will prevent pure market logic (Bourdieu, 1998). In Turkey, health system and educational system have been the leading fields among the ones in which this logic has established. Educational activities that have nearly become compulsory and have been organized in various ways which evoke positive associations such as self-development, getting a profession and preparing for and exam have become prominent as channels in which those policies are put into practice and the society is interiorized being * Corresponding Author: Zafer Kiraz, Tel: 90-356-252 16 16 E-mail address: [email protected]

1877-0428 © 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of Academic World Education and Research Center. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.01.1047


Zafer Kiraz / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 116 (2014) 4905 – 4909

legitimated at conscious level. Recently, transformations that have been experienced in economy and politics are the result of neo-liberal policies that capitalism practices in order to overcome the crisis. During those transformations, everybody takes their shares in accordance with their own social class reality. Whereas the share taken by the higher social class has increased, the working class has become more impoverished (Kiraz; 2010). Namely, whereas the universities studied by higher class people have become the important and palatial universities of the country, the universities studied by the working class members have turned into the slum, insignificant and simple ones where employment anxiety has been experienced to a high degree after graduation. This has been related to marketization of education. Marketization of education in Turkey was officially accepted by signing General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) in 1998 that was imposed in 1995 and that provided development of multinational trade system in a way that would cover services, as well. GATS which is different from other supra-national organizations with its cohesiveness has the potential of affecting the educational system and its implementations in a wider concept and with its all dimensions (Robertson, 2002). Ninth Development Plan (2007-2013) and National Education Strategic Plan (2010-2014) in which there were planned providing concrete support to marketization and privatization in education with several different incentives have become crucial as official documents approximating this process to practice on national level. So that support mechanisms of GATS which “will guarantee the power of capital in a long term providing private persons with privileges rendering those services instead of public and real providers of educational services, namely educationalists” (Scherrer, 2005) have been clearly revealed. This study has also proved that central examinations categorize universities in terms of student profiles. The individual should study at a university in accordance with his/her class reality for inequalities to appear; that is, the university studied generally by the poor and the university studied intensely by the rich will not be similar in terms of both the equipment and content and quality. As there has been stated by Bourdieu (2006) “schools are the places where inequality has been reproduced in education.” Everybody has had a school in accordance with theier own class reality and schools have used curriculum that provide internalization of this class reality. The education should not be considered as different from the social structure formed by the dominant ideology determined by unequal power relations such as production and property, especially. Class inequality and other marginalization practices have been recreated at all levels within the educational system and through the educational system. According to neoliberal policies, transformed new universities have brought about new problems. Each component of universities has affected from those problems; however, students as the leading component have affected as the most. The university has become highly problematic for students with the commercialization of education being no longer a public service after 1980 in Turkey. Problems such as making universities private, establishing private universities, establishing a university to each province, decrease at the quality of education, problems of sheltering and making those private have been some of the problems university students encounter after neoliberal transformation. Problems of university students have been tried to be determined within the framework of whole those variables. The problem of this research is to determine the basic problems and living conditions of university students and how they affect from those in this period when universities have changed and transformed with neoliberal policies. 2. Method Qualitative research method has been used in this research which aims to determine views of university students regarding their problems. “In qualitative research, interview is one of the basic data collection tools. It is a good way to have a grasp of their perceptions, meanings, definitions and building the reality. At the same time, it is one of the most powerful methods that is used for understanding the others. The interview is related to asking questions and receiving answers, in fact; however, it has more meanings within the context of qualitative research” (Punch,2005). The qualitative research can be defined as a research in which qualitative data collection methods such as observation, interview and data analysis are used and a qualitative process for revealing perceptions and events in their natural environments in an integrated and real way has been followed. In other words, the qualitative research is an approach that brings social facts to forefront within their environment (Yıldırım & Şimşek, 2006).

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3. Results There has been determined that 23 of the 30 student interviewed face-to-face have had nuclear family structure and 7 have had the extended family structure. the house in which the families of 17 students live do not belong themselves. Families of 11 students have resided in a flat with central heating or combi boiler. Families of the 9 students have resided in a stove-heated flat. Families of the 9 students have resided in detached houses (slums). The family of one student has been mentioned to be living in a detached house (duplex or triplex). There has also been noticed that mothers of 13 students have had Social Security Institution (SSI), mothers of 2 students have had green card, and mother of one student has had private insurance and mothers of the other students have had no social security. Fathers of 2 students have had Green Card and fathers of whole other students have had a social security. When we analyzed the educational levels of parents, mothers of 6 students have been postgraduates, mothers of 3 students have been graduated from high schools and their equivalents, mothers of 4 students have been elementary education graduates and mother of one student has been literate but not graduated from any school and mothers of whole other students have been primary education graduates. Fathers of 11 students have been postgraduates, fathers of 8 students have been graduated from high schools and their equivalents, fathers of 4 students have been elementary education graduates and fathers of other students have been primary education graduates. There has been noticed that fathers have been more educated than mothers. When we analyze the profession of fathers, mother of one student has had income, mother of one student has been handicraftsman, mother of one student has been unemployed and mothers of the others have looked after family members at home. Father of one student has worked as a seasonal worker and whole other fathers have had a profession they work at. When average monthly income of the families has been analyzed, there has been noticed that family of one student has had 527-650TL income, families of 6 students have had 1001-1500TL income, families of 10 students have had 1501-2000TL income, families of 12 students have had 2501-5000TL income and family of one student has had 5001-10000TL income. When we consider the population within the family, there can be said that students generally have come from lower and medium-lower class families. Five of the students have been noticed to stay with their families, 7 have lived at home (apart from the family), 7 have had stayed in a private dormitory, 11 have had stayed in a state dormitory. Majority of the students have mentioned that they have taken the support of their families but this has not been enough to make their living. There has also been realized that 13 of the students have lived off grants, 11 with credits, one with donation and financial aids, and 5 has made a living by working. The average monthly income of the students has been noticed to change between 200Tl and 600TL, in general. Whereas the monthly income of 16 students has been 200-400TL, monthly income of 12 students has been 401-600TL. There have been 2 students who have had monthly income over 600TL. Whole students have mentioned that their income has not been sufficient for them and those students have also mentioned that they could make a better living when they have acquired the income one step over theirs. When we asked students to arrange sheltering, food, transportation, communication, education, culture-arts-sports, entertainment expenditures from the most to the least, they have mentioned that allocate most money on sheltering, food and transportation. The expenditure students spend the least money has been culture-arts-sports and entertainment. When the reasons of students for choosing the university they study in have been asked, they mentioned that they did not choose the university but they chose due to grades they took. When the reasons of students for choosing the department they studying at have been asked, majority of Educational Faculty students said that they chose their departments purposefully and intentionally; however, students of the other departments said that they haven’t preferred their departments purposefully and they have studied at their departments due to their grades they took. When the question of whether they have been pleased with their universities and departments has been asked to the students, they have stated that they have not been pleased much with the department and the university. And when the question of in which university and department they would like to study at has been asked to the students, a significant part of the students have stated that they would like to study at well-known universities in big cities and at departments they will find a good job. To the question of what advantages your graduation from the university and the department will provide, whole of the students have said it would not provide any advantages. To the


Zafer Kiraz / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 116 (2014) 4905 – 4909

question of “What are the opportunities that the city the university has been located offers you and what are the problems do you have in this city?”, whole of the students have mentioned the restricted opportunities of the city. Not having social activities, having no places to wander around, city’s being small, having restricted number of places to entertain and spend time, the problem of sheltering and the problem of transportation have been the common points who participants have mentioned. Whole of the interviewed students except from one have been noticed to have desire for working in the public sector. When the question of whether students have had anxiety of not finding a job has been asked, whole of the students have been found to have unemployment anxiety. When the question of what they do now in order not to be unemployed has been asked to the students who have unemployment anxiety, majority of the students have mentioned that the do a course so as to be successful at central examinations. When a question related to reasons of students for their unemployment anxiety has been asked, whole of the students said that the unemployment has increased gradually and the country has not been governed well. When the views of students concerning the most important three problems of Turkey have been asked, they have been noticed as considering unemployment as the most important one although the students have differed in orders. Then educational problem, discrimination, privatization, the Kurdish problem and economic problems have been put in order, respectively. 4. Conclusion and suggestions When the personal information of students has been analyzed, there can be mentioned that they generally have had nucleus family structure and they generally come from lower or medium-lower classes. Majority of the students have been found to be living in houses they rented with their friends including 5-7 people. Because there has only been provided 3000-5000-person state dormitory opportunity to 20 thousand students in Tokat, majority of the students have resided in houses compulsorily. Monthly income of the students has generally centered upon 201400TL and this has not been sufficient for most of them. There has been revealed that students mostly spend for sheltering and food. . Kaslı and Serel (2008) indicated that monthly expenditure of per student was 518.86 YTL in the 2006-2007 academic year and they spared their monthly budgets as follows; 34% of entertainment, 23% of housing-electricity-water-gas and communications, 18% percent of food and beverage, 11% of clothing, 10% of transportation, and 4% of stationery, respectively. Majority of the students have mentioned that they would like to work in public sector after graduation and they have had anxiety of not finding a job. There has been understood that gradually increasing unemployment and country’s being not governed well have been indicated as reasons for the anxiety of unemployment. They have stated unemployment as the most important problem of Turkey. Demir, Pala, Baytekin (2006) stated that 72% of the students attending the Faculty of Agriculture, looking certain to remain unemployed after graduation. Karasoy (1999) revealed that the young people began to look for work after school by their own means. Establishment of universities to each city has provided universities to be different in quality from each other. Whereas some universities have been favorite privileged universities, the others have turned into unprivileged slum ones. There should have been carried out studies to increase and equalize the qualities of universities. Students have serious employment anxiety and they have proved that this anxiety will not come to an end as long as they graduate from unprivileged universities. For this reason, full-guaranteed employment opportunities should be provided to everybody and employment anxiety of students should be minimized. Grant and credit fees should be provided to students at a rate they will live in a qualified way. State dormitories at a number at which each university student will stay in easily should be established and students should be offered to benefit them from. References Bourdieu, P. (2006). Pratik Nedenler. Çev: Hülya Uğur Tanrıöver. İstanbul: Hil Yayınları. Bourdieu, P. (1998). The Essence of Neoliberalism Le Monde Diplomatique, English Edition 12, http://mondediplo.com/1998/12 (13 Kasım2012). Demir, A. Pala, A. Baytekin, H. (2006). Ziraat Fakülteleri Öğrencilerinin Sosyal Yapıları, Eğilimleri ve Sorunları Üzerinde Bir Araştırma. Tekirdağ Ziraat Fakültesi Dergisi

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