Open Education Theology Programs: Problems and Suggested Solutions

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CUMHURIYET ILAHIYAT DERGISI-CUMHURIYET THEOLOGY JOURNAL, vol.21, no.3, pp.1905-1940, 2017 (ESCI) identifier identifier


Associate degree programs related to the field of theology in Turkey are taught in the Faculties of Open Education. The Divinity Diploma Upgrade Program, which aims to grant the students graduated from this program bachelor's degrees, is carried out in various universities with sufficient technological infrastructure. Both programs meet great needs but they have significant problems in their systems. It is possible to examine these problems in five groups: related to philosophy of establishment, education-teaching, measurement and evaluation, standards and diploma equivalence. As seen in our classification, these problems stem more so from the open education system in Turkey and various ways of its application than the discipline of theology itself. Therefore, unless we make necessary improvements in open education system itself, we cannot solve all of these problems. Some of these serious problems are as follows: There is no Arabic Preparatory program in Open Education Theology Programs. There are no Quran lessons in associate degree programs. Some of the basic courses that require practical training (such as Qur'an, Arabic, Religious Rhetoric, Religious Music, Tafsir, Hadith and Fiqh Texts etc.) are not fully compatible with the testing technique used in open education. Moreover, these courses require face-to-face training. The test technique paves the way for simplicity and is inadequate to measure student success. When open education programs are founded in Turkey, universally accepted accreditation standards are not taken into account and these programs are not subjected to serious audits. All of these are serious problems that shouldn't be ignored in education. The fact that diplomas given by open education programs are seen equivalent to diplomas earned from face-to-face educational programs leads to objectionable situations not only in terms of education but in terms of employment as well. This study discusses these problems by reviewing previous literature as well as information from official websites of open education programs and systematically analyzing them. The aim of this study is to make modest contributions to the reorganization of the Open Education Theology Programs in Turkey to improve the quality of open education and to make it more compatible with traditional higher religious education programs.