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All universities and higher education institutions were connected to the Higher Education Council (YOK) which was established by Law No. 2547 dated 6 November 1981. YOK is an auton- omous organization having a public juristic personality within the framework of the duties and authorities given by the Higher Education Law, which regulates higher education and directs the activities of the higher education institutions.

YOK prepares short and long-term plans to establish and develop higher education institutions and to educate in Turkey or abroad the teaching staff required and monitors the application. Furthermore, it provides for cooperation and coordination among the higher education institutions. The Higher Education Supervisory Board, OSYM and other related units for planning, research, development, evaluation, budget, investment and coordination are connected to YOK.

In the forefront of the activities planned on the subject of higher education in Turkey are the reorganization of the higher education system and freeing the higher education from a centralized and bureaucratic structure. It is planned for this purpose to increase the authority of the boards of directors of the universities and faculties, to have them acquire freedom of action on the subjects of creating sources and making expenses and to raise university industry relations to the highest level. In 1998, a bag budget was applied at five universities.

Furthermore, activities are continuing to transform YOK into an interuniversity coordination institution, to provide full autonomy to the universities and to give the opportunity for the representation of teaching staff members, research assistants and students in the administration of the university. Additionally, great importance is placed on the subject of making the education-training system and programs conform to the international educational system and standards.

Activities are continuing for providing the rapid completion of the National Academic Network and Data Center that will support on the one hand, the integration of teaching with research and joint research and on the other hand, by providing universities and research and development institutions with a rapid access to the information sources in an electronic environment at a national and international level. In recent years activities have been accel- erated for the development of the open university education besides formal education to provide the opportunity for obtaining the information and skills needed by extensive groups of persons and activities for raising the quality of open university education by effective utilization of contemporary education and communication technology.