YOUNG HUMAN RESOURCES OF THE PARTICIPATION FINANCE SYSTEM
Today, participation finance has a structure that expands and deepens academically and has a certain place in Turkey's finance industry
As in all sectors, young human resource is just as crucial for participation finance. In this regard, the article will first discuss the significance of undergraduate and postgraduate education in participation finance in terms of gaining young human resource and will continue to address the necessary steps required to direct the young human resource towards both the sector and academia.
PROVIDING YOUNG HUMAN RESOURCES WITH UNDERGRADUATE AND POSTGRADUATE EDUCATION FOR THE PARTICIPATION FINANCE SECTOR
Participation finance, which refers to the financial services structured according to the rules and moral principles of trade in Islam, has a 30-40 year history of practical visibility of finance in Turkey. However, direct education on the subject at an undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral level was only realised after the 2000s. We will not dwell further on the reasons for this delay; however, this means that participation finance sector employees were first trained within their institutions for a certain time. This is because participation finance has its unique practices and values, thus, it requires an exclusive education that differs from standard economy, business, finance, banking etc.
Today, the aforementioned challenge of participation finance is not valid since there is an essential young human resource in Turkey who has received direct training at various levels in the relevant field. More specifically, there are currently two universities in Turkey that have undergraduate Islamic economics and finance programs. Both universities had their first graduates as of 2019-2020 spring semester in departments with Turkish as their teaching language. This means that around 60 young graduates are ready for the participation finance industry. These graduates have not only been taught about the practices of participation finance, but also about fiqh, Islamic economic institutions and Islamic finance theory as well to consolidate its theoretical background within the scope of their curriculum. This means that a young human resource has been educated to work in different departments and positions in various participation finance institutions (participation banks, participation insurance etc.). One of the abovementioned undergraduate programs is English taught and aims to educate students equipped with sufficient foreign language. This department will have its first graduates as of the 2020-2021 Spring semester.
The role of postgraduate programs (Masters/PhD) is just as crucial as undergraduate programs in raising young human resources. This has a bilateral importance since both potential and current participation finance employees have the opportunity to develop themselves further in the relevant field. What is more, these contributions are instrumental not only to work in the participation finance field but also to educate those who wish to pursue an academic career in this area. To sum up, the 2 undergraduate, 16 postgraduate and 9 PhD programs in Turkey aim to raise a young human resource both practically and academically in the field of participation finance.
INCREASING AWARENESS AND INTEREST REGARDING PARTICIPATION FINANCE AND ACHIEVING ADDITIONAL YOUNG HUMAN RESOURCES
Another way to acquire young human resources in the academy or the industry of participation finance is through increasing awareness and interest of young people in this area, regardless of the type of education they receive. The former method regarding awareness lies within a larger context of financial literacy. Within this framework, it is essential to increase the general knowledge about participation finance along with specific knowledge regarding participation institutions and products among young people. Social media, which is popular among young people, stands out as a valuable tool in this context. Preparing relevant short videos and sharing informative social media posts are also some of the actions that can be taken.
Some exemplary actions include encouraging high school and university students to use sample products and tools and organising relevant project competitions. At this point, I would like to share a project sample. Recently, while giving a participation banking undergraduate course in Turkey, I asked students to select a participation bank and examine a product on the bank's website. In this context, the students commented on both the practicality of the web page and the quality and quantity of the information provided about the product they wanted to acquire information about. There were some interesting feedbacks. Through this, I realised that participation banks could implement a similar project with students from various universities or even high schools because they are the ones who frequently use online tools and, thus, are the potential participation bank users of the future.
In conclusion, today, participation finance has a structure that expands and deepens academically and today has a certain place in Turkey's finance industry. The continuation of further strengthening this structure depends on the participation of today's young generation. This participation must be supported with first awareness, then continued with involvement and education. In order to achieve this, various participation finance actors (including participation finance institutions, universities, and related civil society organisations) must take responsibility.
Istanbul Sabahttin Zaim University Doç. Dr. Zeyneb Hafsa Orhan
You can view the content in the 25th issue of Katılım Finans. (YOUNG HUMAN RESOURCES OF THE PARTICIPATION FINANCE SYSTEM)