Public Administration & ICT for Human Development in Turkey How to Remove Limitations

Public Administration & ICT for Human Development in Turkey How to Remove Limitations

M. Kemal Öktem (Department of Public Administration, Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/jicthd.2012100103

Abstract

This paper deals with the issue of ICT (Information Communication and Technology) for human development in Turkey and the role of public administration as a service provider, and as a macro organization. The human side of development is important at least as technological investments to balance inequalities and environmental risks. After having an overview of the Turkish case, a number of possible solutions have been argued to reach knowledge of happiness and well-being.
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Human Development In Turkey

Human Development Index 2011 (of United Nations Development Program - UNDP) for Turkey has some indications. One should remember that measuring by itself is a problematic issue, and UN has some reservations and explaining articles on how to arrive consensus and conclusions. Especially when it comes to measuring “human development”, OECD also has an interactive web site enabling “citizens” to take part in and have a say on what or which variable (housing, job, etc.) is more important in “quality of life” for instance. As an economist from Turkey points out that “defining the measuring unit” is a major problem (e.g., for inflation index, what goods or services to choose, preferences on sub-indexes) and its rates directly influences the economic policy (Akat, 2011a). National income, welfare comparisons between countries, per capita income measurements are all have some limitations since they do not take health, education, income distribution. Report on Human Development in Turkey (http://www.undp.org.tr) has been released in November 2011, and Turkey has been placed at 67th level among 187 countries in terms of purchasing power. For non-income index, social dimension, which is measurable, objective and reflecting income distribution, has been employed averaging health (life expectancy at birth: 74) and education (average years of adult education: (6.5) and expected years of education for the babies born this year: 11.8) indicators as investments in human beings. Turkey has been placed as 112th. When those two indicators (67 and 112) unified, its rank is 92.

Relatively lower nominal foreign exchange rate and overvalued Turkish currency (Lira) places Turkey in a better position in terms of per capita income, and another measurement problematic issue has been emphasized as “welfare distribution” as a result of public policy and social preference of governments depending on whether private consumption or social welfare expenses are preferred (Akat, 2011b). Those countries focusing on health and education are climbing to the higher levels in the ranking. That means a country with a lower (even a half) per capita income would also be at a closer rank with Turkey in human development index.

In the case of health services, the minister states that there is gap between the number of human resources and patients; “the number of medical practitioners for each 100 thousand people is 340 in Europe, and 156 in Turkey’ (Akdağ, 2011). That means a doctor could spare ‘nine minutes (although doubled in last decade) for each patient, however this timing is not enough and should be at least 15 or 20 minutes.’ Ministry of Health has been prepared to better its services by increasing the number of medical practitioners through employing foreign nationals at private hospitals. E-Health system also helped to improve this picture.

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