Universities rectors meet with Minister of Education to discuss Face-To-Face Education and quarantine, Government to introduce Ada Card for students

The Cyprus Universities Union (KÜB) held a meeting on “TRNC Higher Education Sector Problems and Solution Proposals” on Wednesday, to discuss the arrival of students to the island and quarantine procedures.

According to a written statement from Girne American University, the meeting was attended by the Minister of National Education and Culture Olgun Amcaoğlu, YODAK President Prof. Dr. Turgay Avcı and representatives of universities.

At the meeting, the necessary plans regarding the transportation of students to the island before the Academic Year begins, the provision of air transportation, how the quarantine, PCR test and possible vaccination applications of the students will be carried out, how the educational applications will be, and the vaccination status of the academic and administrative staff at the universities were discussed.

Speaking at the meeting, Minister of National Education and Culture Olgun Amcaoğlu said that the Academic Calendar, Education Program and Contagion Protocol are included in the 2021-2022 Academic Year Planning.

Emphasizing the importance of face-to-face education in schools, provided that health is taken into account, Amcaoğlu underlined that it is clear what will be done in the education program in the 2021-2022 education period.

Stating that the academic calendar was also determined, Amcaoğlu said that with the Contagion Protocol, it was clearly revealed what to do to make education sustainable face-to-face.

Stating that consultations were held at the meeting attended by the rector of 21 universities, YODAK President and the Prime Minister before the decisions taken in the Council of Ministers on June 21, 2021, Amcaoğlu said that after these issues were discussed with the Higher Education Council, it was decided how the 2020-2021 Fall Semester would be shaped.

“Today we had the chance to review them once again. The aim is to revive higher education, to start face-to-face education in a quality way and to continue it in a sustainable way. Because, as all experts say, online education can never replace face-to-face education,” Amcaoğlu said, and stated that at this point, all universities are in favor of face-to-face education.

Stating that 40 thousand Astra Zeneca vaccines are reserved for students from 142 third countries, and 150 thousand Sinovac vaccines from Turkey will be used to vaccinate students of the Republic of Turkey who have incomplete administration.

“To sum up, there is no shortage of vaccine doses for both our students and academics. There is one more thing I would like to point out. Nearly 83 thousand students will have a credit card that they can use within the scope of the internationally known 'Island Friendly' project. Until the privilege of our students living in this country pays the dormitory fee, this card will be introduced to you with the launch we will make with Koop Bank, which will have advantages in shopping. It will be such that it will introduce the privilege and advantage within it.”

Minister Amcaoğlu noted that if there is a flight demand for the transfer of students to the island, this demand will also be met.

AVCI: “as YÖDAK, we will do our duty”
YODAK President Prof. Dr. Turgay Avcı noted that they are considering organizing a meeting in which 21 universities will be active in the coming days.

Noting that the administrators of the universities shared their thoughts and potential problems about September, Avcı said, “We shared our solution proposals with them. I hope there will be face-to-face training in September 2021. We, as the government and as YODAK, will do our part. Our future students will be able to carry out their duties in peace and health, and our academicians will be able to carry out their duties comfortably. As YODAK, when we say that there will be face-to-face education, we also reveal how it should be and how it should take place in a healthy environment. Believe me, we have world-class universities in this tiny country and we trust them.”

Cyprus Universities Association President Selman Arslanbaş noted that they held a very productive meeting and said that the meeting was a good start in terms of determining the sub-parameters for the start of face-to-face education in the TRNC, and what to do in order for the student to continue their education in a healthy way, by talking to each other with a common mind.

Arslanbaş also pointed out the importance of all stakeholders to come together around the table and act with a common mind in order for the island to become an island of higher education.

Girne American University Founding Rector Serhat Akpınar also noted that it is good that the Cyprus Universities Association is handling the process in this way and that they have the chance to be a guide in making several decisions concerning students who will come in the next academic year.

“I hope that a mobilization will be started immediately, as I presented at the meeting. Because there is a great anxiety and information pollution right now, so our students and families are very sensitive about this issue, but a solution will be found for all of them. I wish everyone a good academic year.”

***Still no concrete development on the huge quarantine fee of 5,400 Turkish Lira imposed on students from Dark Red and Grey countries. The government should do something about this as soon as possible. Students who are struggling to live in the island can in no way spend such amount of money on quarantine for two weeks.


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