Project “YOUth Ambassadors of Non-Formal Learning”
Organization: Türk Girişim ve İş Dünyası Konfederasyonu
Interviewer: Begüm Seyhan
Interviewee: Bahadır Ülgen, National Agency of Turkey (education instructor)
Date and location: 06.04.2020.
Duration: 40 minutes
Note: Interview was conducted online (Zoom Online Meeting)
List of questions for the Interview:
- Is the law defining NFE in your country? If yes, please describe what the law says.
There are definitions of non-formal education in Turkey. It is progressing by public education centers. There are definitions of the courses in public education centers in the law. However, there is a different non-formal education content that we use especially in youth work and EU projects. Formal definition and our non-formal education definition are also similar but there are differences. Non formal education that defined by Turkish Republic laws is in progress via public education centers.
- Please describe the existing strategies, action plans that define nonformal learning in your country?
Strategies implemented in the field of non-formal education in our country are carried out through public education centers, a sub-unit of the Ministry of National Education. There are many courses to improve women’s skills and they are also defined as non-formal education. Turkey has programs conducted by the National Agency. For example, they say in EVS, Erasmus, and in these programs that you need to use non-formal education techniques that in all planned studies, young people realize projects using these methods. For this reason, we use non-formal learning techniques in all kind of projects and trainings.
- Have you been involved in the development of a strategy / action plan / law in excess of the NFE issues?
I have previously been involved in a project that is known for DEM International (Experiential Training Center) in national education. I was planning to change the definition of non-formal education in National Education a little more. Because non-formal education is not just about public education center courses. It has such definitions and applications in Europe and the world. We also established cooperation with Dem International conducted MONE which is a Non-Governmental Organization in Turkey, we conducted this study with an EU grant project. I took part in projects that will contribute to the creation of many strategy documents explaining how non-formal education is available and the importance of its involvement in the Turkish education system.
- Do you work on promoting NFE and how?
This is what I’ve been doing for years; to develop non-formal education methods and design their contents. We are known as the National Agency of Turkey widespread education instructor. We try to ensure the recognition of non-formal education in many studies we have done for him. For example, in the Comenius programs, even if the individual in front of us comes from formal education, we ensure that it is recognized and visible when we use these methods even with them. Our goal is to make it widespread already. I am not a decision maker or a policy maker, but I am fully involved in implementation. I have been making with love this task since 2000. By using these methods, I am an individual trying to make individuals known how effective and efficient methods are.
- For your institution/CSO how young people recognize NFE?
There are important non-formal education concepts in NGO studies and education. Experiential learning is one of them. Because we enable the individual to learn by experience. This is very important for me. When we look at the last period, there is a lot of learning with game methods in formal education. Gamification is important, I think, it will gradually shift to digital we saw the coronavirus pandemic process. Entrepreneurship is what we provide young people the most. We support that entrepreneurial spirit among young people by using non-formal education methods of their social contribution to become entrepreneurs. Young people finish their formal education and universities. But things such as how students they are going to make them different after graduation, their involvement in the NGO, volunteering awareness, entrepreneural skills, and active participation make them stand out. We also support the learning processes of young people through with non-formal teaching methods.
- What are you doing about NFE in term to make closeness with youth?
In fact, we are always in touch with young people. Because in youth work, young people always do something for young people. Especially very important processes for them. Active participation of young people is very valuable in this process. In structured dialogues, it is very important for young people to produce policies for themselves by bringing young people together with decision-makers and policy makers. Because now we are doing many studies that will enable young people to experience themselves rather than transferring information we use in formal education with young people. Later, young people discover their own learning process and make it easier for them to learn. Taking part in a program like EVS means having a massive non-formal education environment planned to gain volunteering awareness. However, we may get a big surprise when we enter first into such a formation after the education system in Turkey.
- Have you involved young people in the process of bringing about things that are relevant to non-formal education?
Actually it is unlimited. So I can say a lot. Because you were involved in my education and it was a very small project. In fact, we used continuous non-formal education methods even when using methods such as practicing you, transferring priorities. Although it is a very theoretical education, small applications in that education were made for you to experience that process. The aim of non-formal education is to activate young people, and non-formal education is a student-oriented education. I am not someone with unlimited knowledge. In fact, what I do is to design methods that will enable you to access that information by using non-formal education methods.
- Should the Government get involved and make an even bigger contribution when it we are speaking about youth and policies about youth?
Maybe you will always reach this answer. Because in our constitution, the government and the official dimension, youth is included only as a substance. That article is also inadequate in my opinion. In our country, there was no such field as a youth field for years. There was the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and sports and youth were always intertwined. When we look, the big share of the cake always belonged to the sport. The fact that young people are in the field of sports is effective, but in my opinion, the point where the young people will take place should not be only sports. Young people should really influence decision-making mechanisms, develop policies, take part in an NGO and be in areas such as volunteering. But the youth field and youth work, of course, proceeded through the government. Turkey’s National Agency is ultimately an official institution. In other words, Youth Action Projects, Erasmus and solidarity programs; Regardless of their name, they all have the same goal. Young people are doing and implementing their own projects for themselves. As a youth worker or trainer, all I can say is; youth area is an area that needs to be further elaborated and expanded. I mean, non-formal education should not only be carried out through public education centers. Same way youth should not be only through sport either. Its different dimensions need to be officially recognized and included.