POSITIONS OF DISTANCE EDUCATION GRADUATES IN THE JOB MARKET: A CASE STUDY OF THE OPEN EDUCATION FACULTY GRADUATES IN TURKEY.

Ugur Demiray

Anadolu University

Education is one of the basic human rights, however it is also well known that education is too expensive and services are limited for many societies around the world.
Unfortunately at the moment, traditional education systems can not meet the educational demands of people all over the world, however since the 1960s, distance education
has brought new opportunities and ways in which to solve some of the long-standing educational problems in the history of education.

According to a well known statement, the quality of the faculty rests on its graduates' success, their productivity and the quality of their working life or their position
on the job market. In other words graduates career, or position in the job market is a clear indication of the quality and prestige of the institution from which they have
graduated. So that the main purpose of this survey is to understand the positions of OEF graduates' on the job market who have been educated at a distance following the
OEF method.

Distance education can be defined alongside many other concepts such as education without walls, open learning, borderless education, open teaching, non-traditional
education, distance learning/teaching, correspondence home study, distance teaching at a distance, extension study, external study, education, independent study, external
learning, flexible education, flexible learning, life long education, lifelong learning, contract learning, experiential learning, directed private study, drop-in
learning, independent learning, resource-based learning, self-access learning, self-study, supported self-study or continuing education etc in the literature defined by
different authors.

A related concept is 'independent study'. C. Wedemeyer defines Independent study as that which consists of various forms of teaching or learning arrangements in which
teachers and learners carry out their essential tasks and responsibilities apart from one another, communicating in various ways for the express purpose of freeing
internal learners from inappropriate class pacing or patterns, of providing external learners with opportunities to continue learning in their own environments, and of
developing all learner's capacity to carry on self-directed learning.

The main starting concept and the reason for this study had been based on an evaluation of the position of distance education graduates' in the job market after completing
their education at Anadolu University, Open Education Faculty (OEF), in Turkey. The main starting concept and the reason for this study had been based on an evaluation of
the position of distance education graduates' in the job market after completing their education at Anadolu University, Open

Education Faculty (OEF), in Turkey. This paper will review the findings of the survey which examined the position of the 2000 graduates' in the job market who have been
educated at
a distance and graduated from the Open Education Faculty's Economics Department, in Turkey, between 1985-1994, with a four-year university degree. This paper provides
insight into some of the main findings of this research.


? The largest proportion of graduates in OEF were male. (75% were male and 25% were female)
? The Percentage of those getting married increased after graduation, reasons given the increase in their income level, completion of their military service and getting a
better position in their job etc. Similarly, the same increase is seen with regard to children when comparing the years graduates spent in OEF and ten years after
graduation. Most of the graduates were in a typical nucleus family with two or three children.
? Nearly, 85% of all graduates was between 20-37 years old. On the other hand, nearly 30% is 25 years old and over. This percentage is 33.5 in FernUniversitat and 33.4 in
UNED.
? Students of OEF mostly came from normal high school and a few from technical high school via National Student Selection and Placement Centre.
? Most of graduates (89%) completed their education in normal time without interruption (in four years or eight semesters).
? It is clear that one in four graduates received their support during their study in OEF.
? At the end of this research, the intention was to gather information about the graduates' experiences with studying at a distance. It was also the intention to learn to
what extent the graduates had difficulties about getting academic counselling and watching TV programmes. The graduates have difficulties often in their study with respect
to; work through study materials within the fixed deadlines and pressure of exam date. The graduates had few difficulties in their study with respect to; arrival to the
exam centres, usefulness and importance of printed information materials for the study progress, establish way of communication with the faculty administration and faculty
staff.
? One in five graduates s carried on to post graduate education such as masters level and one of the other OEF's programmes or other university programmes. Some of them
completed these programmes too.
? Getting a university degree was the dominant aim for the most graduates (54% stated "it is very important" and 35% it "is important" totalling nearly 90%). Developing
their interests in a specific concern (%61 important and 66% achieved), getting financial benefit from higher qualification of having a bachelorís degree (77% important
and 69% achieved), proving something to themselves (74% important and 85% achieved), increasing their professional standing with colleagues at work (64% important and 70%
achieved), become more cultured/ generally (90% important and 92% achieved), developing a new career (60% important and 38% achieved),
? The number of working OEF graduates in governmental and private administration and the organisation sector has increased
? Another increasing sectors that has appeared is the finance and industrial sector, from studying years to the after graduating and up to now.
? The number of working OEF graduates in transportation and agriculture sector are decreased from the time they studied at OEF and up to now.. There is no significant
mobility in the social security, tourism, and health, or freelance sectors.
? If their new job changing was involved change of career or career to different line since completing their distance studies when compared with the one their held prior
jobs this changing reasons also had decreased due to 1st job changing to 3rd job changing from point of view on a natural development from previous jobs or a radical
change from previous jobs, an experiment that could be reversed or a chance could not easily reverse.
? If their new job changing was better since completing their distance studies when compared with the one their held prior jobs in the terms of security of the job, the
motivation of the work, the change to take responsibility, the pay, the change for promotion or other advancement, chance to use knowledge/ skills/qualifications were
better in 1st changing than 2nd or 3rd.
? Every seventh of the graduates declared that they had used their knowledge and abilities which earned educating at OEF for to find a job, to change their job and to
promote in their work. Especially, they used this opportunity in their 1st job changing much more than 2nd job changing
? Every sixth of the ten graduates declared that they had used their knowledge and abilities, which earned educating at OEF in their job.
?
Suggestion of the survey here as:
? The graduates should be directly informed about the results of the research, reports and scientific activities in order to remove their hesitation which realised by the
university or from the literature as soon as possible.
? Graduates who are successful in their fields or jobs should be identified and followed carefully to investigate why they have been successful in their working life in
order to informing the public opinion and the new students in the OEF system, by distributing and presenting those data on news, panels, conversations, TV, radio,
seminars etc.
? As a matter of urgency, graduate unions and branches should be established and supported as soon as possible on both a
? local and nation-wide scale in order for there to be healthy information flowing between the OEF system graduates or students. This will provide good communication
contacts for another will help the healthy running of the system.
? Some employers support an OEF degree, but most of them do not accept OEF graduates degree easily. Administrations of the Anadolu University and OEF urgently should be
revised its own profile of the graduates and received some serial decisions for to prevent like these opinions and the behaviours by establishing of the OEF vision unit
and preparing campaigns to provide detailed inform to them.
? In this vision study, administrations of the Anadolu University and OEF urgently should be in contact with the council of Turkish Higher Education and established
Graduates Union to produce short and long term strategy projects. In these studies a survey of employer attitudes toward recruitment and employability of the OEF graduates
should be realised, a study on evaluation graduates feedback, study on market evaluation.
and analyse of the structure companies which are the OEF graduates working at. etc. as soon as possible.
? Again as part of this vision study period, OEF administration should review the literature carefully on the studies or graduates surveys which are conducted by other
distance education institutions in the world. And also, should make suggestions to realise co-operative research projects with such institutions.
? As already mentioned, this study is unique and a first in its field in Turkey. After this study, the data should be kept for re-testing by conducting new surveys in the
same content and on different specific subject and fields too. And also, the researchers and researches should be supported and encouraged by the system (OEF) which can be
conducted on graduates in any aspect.