MNE, SSB and ASELSAN Consider Vocational Schools a National Issue: ASELSAN Vocational and Technical Anatolian High School to be Inaugurated

18 Mart 2019
The Protocol for Cooperation in Vocational and Technical Education was signed (left to right) by Prof. Dr. Hakan Karataş, Vice President of ASELSAN; Prof. Dr. İsmail Demir, President of Defence Industries; Prof. Dr. Ziya Selçuk, Minister of National Education; Prof. Dr. Haluk Görgün, Chairman of the Board of Directors, President and CEO of ASELSAN; and Prof. Dr. Kemal Varım Numanoğlu, Director General of Vocational and Technical Education.

The Ministry of National Education (MNE), the Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB) and ASELSAN will cooperate in the establishment and inauguration of Turkey’s first Vocational and Technical Anatolian High School specialising in defence systems within Turkey’s secondary education system. A protocol detailing this cooperation was signed between ASELSAN and the Ministry of National Education’s Directorate General of Vocational and Technical Education (DGVTE) on December 31, at a ceremony held at ASELSAN’s Macunköy facilities. With this move, an important step has been taken toward resolving the lack of technical personnel in the sector, which is considered a national issue.

The Protocol for Cooperation in Vocational and Technical Education was signed (left to right) by Prof. Dr. Hakan Karataş, Vice President of ASELSAN; Prof. Dr. İsmail Demir, President of Defence Industries; Prof. Dr. Ziya Selçuk, Minister of National Education; Prof. Dr. Haluk Görgün, Chairman of the Board of Directors, President and CEO of ASELSAN; and Prof. Dr. Kemal Varım Numanoğlu, Director General of Vocational and Technical Education.

The Protocol for Cooperation in Vocational and Technical Education was signed (left to right) by Prof. Dr. Hakan Karataş, Vice President of ASELSAN; Prof. Dr. İsmail Demir, President of Defence Industries; Prof. Dr. Ziya Selçuk, Minister of National Education; Prof. Dr. Haluk Görgün, Chairman of the Board of Directors, President and CEO of ASELSAN; and Prof. Dr. Kemal Varım Numanoğlu, Director General of Vocational and Technical Education.

 

The protocol, which seeks to contribute to the raising of the qualified work force so desperately needed by defence sector, will see the inauguration of an ASELSAN Vocational and Technical Anatolian High School. The High School will offer programmes in electrical-electronics technologies, defence electronics systems, machine technology and mechanical defence systems. The educational programme in these branches will be devised and constantly updated by a joint working group comprising representatives of ASELSAN and the DGVTE, in line with the defence sector’s requirements. Any field and branch courses deemed suitable will be given by ASELSAN instructors and experts. The teachers at these schools will take part in on-the-job training programmes at ASELSAN’s facilities, and the school’s most outstanding students will be offered internship opportunities at ASELSAN. ASELSAN will make sure that the school’s workshop and laboratory are all sufficiently equipped and supported, while also arranging scholarships for successful students and providing testing/laboratory materials to the school. Moreover, the school’s graduates will be prioritised in terms of employment opportunities at ASELSAN. As per the protocol, ASELSAN will also provide scholarships to suitable graduates, should they pursue their education in research universities within the engineering departments that are among the company’s areas of interest.

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Humans are not a Resource, but an Asset

Hosting the ceremony, Prof. Dr. Haluk Görgün, Chairman of the Board of Directors, President and CEO of ASELSAN, delivered a speech in which he highlighted the gradual change in the way information functions and is acquired. Noting that, “Modern society, which has a more scientific and technological character, exhibits profound structural and functional differences compared to the societies of the past”, Prof. Dr. Görgün said that these affect the fundamental model of education, leading to groundbreaking changes and developments in this area. “The explosion [in the quantity] of knowledge, as well as the rapid changes and developments in science and technology, affects both individuals and society, changing their lifestyles and their educational needs. This revolution is used to describe the new technologies and new concepts being employed in the organisation of the chain of values. There are plans to connect computers with one another via the Internet to form smart factories. Computers at homes, cars and hospitals are already in constant communication with each other, helping people and facilitating their decision-making processes. It is estimated that the number of such intercommunicating devices, which nowadays stands at around 15 billion, will climb to 50 billion by 2020. It would be a mistake to think that all these developments don’t concern or affect us, because the world of the tomorrow is taking shape according to this industrial approach, which is also setting the rules for the future,” Prof. Dr. Görgün said.

He went on to describe ASELSAN’s perspective and targets behind the foundation of vocational and technical Anatolian high schools: “Contributing to Turkey’s defence and technological development for 43 years, ASELSAN seeks to create a highly qualified workforce that is instilled with the values of the company. ASELSAN assigns tasks to its employees that push their limits, as well as development opportunities that will enable them to surpass these limits. In fact, we’re trying to bring a whole new approach to ASELSAN. At ASELSAN, we see humans not as a resource, but as an asset. In brief, we’re trying to convert the perspective where humans are treated as a resource that is needed and then consumed, into one where they are noticed, taken care of, developed and given value.”

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An Educational Bridge between Companies and Schools

In his speech, Prof. Dr. İsmail Demir, President of Defence Industries, highlighted the critical importance of the concept of “teacher”. “We need teachers who not only know the profession and their field, but who also know how to approach and deal with people,” Prof. Dr. Demir said, who also hinted at the possibility of using employees  and experts from within the sector as teachers. Prof. Dr. Demir continued: “We keep [saying] to our teachers that the doors are always open to them; but I also believe in the opposite, that employees in defence companies who are truly competent and knowledgeable in this area, and who can work in an educational setting, could – even if only for a short time on a voluntary basis, and as a supporting personnel – transition to the other side, where [we could benefit from their abilities in such positions]. I believe that it would be a highly beneficial step for our country if we, after fully equipping these schools, ensure that instructors can teach there without cutting their ties with their respective fields, while also maintaining a channel that allows personnel from companies to go to schools to teach and instruct in their respective areas. In addition, we also attach importance to forming a chain that stretches from vocational education to postgraduate and doctoral studies, and includes on-the-job training, combining the approach I mentioned earlier with an academic concept, to create the concept of the ‘Defence Academy’ that is on our agenda.”

Prof. Dr. Demir said that he believed the ASELSAN Academy model would be a successful approach that will serve as a model for Turkey.

 

Highlighting Team-Building

As the last speaker to take the floor, Prof. Dr. Ziya Selçuk, Minister of National Education, said, “We’re heading towards a future that would almost make my generation think they had lived in the stone age,” noting that one of the names given to this new period is the Era of Singularity. Prof. Dr. Selçuk described the character of this era as follows: “We’re speaking of an era in which the digital, the physical and the biological will take shape within the same body and entity. It is a future where the machine will also encompass the biological and the digital. Maybe in 15–20 years’ time, we’ll have the opportunity to see machines, equipment or apparatuses that combine all three of these. As our children are preparing for such a future, there are certain values that they are entitled to [and should receive]. As people in positions of authority, we are responsible for making sure these values can be imparted to them.”

Noting that team-building skills will take centre stage in this new area, Prof. Dr. Selçuk said, “We should speak not just about the need to build teams of individuals, but also about forming teams of institutions. We [at the Ministry] also have to be part of such a team and to serve an ecosystem as a partner.” Prof. Dr. Selçuk went on: “If we establish this ecosystem and cultivate our own habitat, each party will be able to contribute the added value they generate not just geometrically or arithmetically, but through an exponential increase, as is required by the era of singularity. This is because we no longer have any real chance to compete globally based only on arithmetic or geometric advances. With the capabilities offered by new technologies, it becomes possible to make changes and transformations of an exponential nature; and these, in turn, require bringing the whole ecosystem together.”

The Protocol for Cooperation in Vocational and Technical Training was officially signed following the speeches. The signatories of the protocol included Prof. Dr. Ziya Selçuk, Minister of National Education; Prof. Dr İsmail Demir, President of Defence Industries; Prof. Dr. Haluk Görgün, Chairman of the Board of Directors, President and CEO of ASELSAN; Prof. Dr. Kemal Varım Numanoğlu, Director General of Vocational and Technical Education; and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Hakan Karataş, Vice President of ASELSAN.

After the signing ceremony, Prof. Dr. Görgün conducted a tour of the ASELSAN Hacim Kamoy Production Hall for Prof. Dr. Selçuk and his accompanying delegation.

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