Program for preschool developments presented in Baku

By Nigar Orujova

The Heydar Aliyev Foundation presented its "Preschool Institutions Development Program" at the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku on February 24.

Azerbaijan's First Lady and President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva attended the ceremony.

The current situation of preschool education was also discussed at the event.

Aliyeva gave a speech at the ceremony, saying economic growth in the country has been observed in all the areas in recent years, more attention has been paid to the development of education, and more funds have been allocated to this area.

The number of schools built and repaired in Azerbaijan in the past ten years is 2,700. This measure has improved the learning environment of more than one million students.

Aliyeva stressed that all the schools in need of repair will be reconstructed in the country as part of the third regional development program.

She also spoke of the Foundation's project in support of orphanages and boarding schools, saying that 32 boarding schools and orphanages were reconstructed.

Azerbaijan's first lady said the Heydar Aliyev Foundation is launching a new project, adding, "There is a great need for building kindergartens in our country. Children spend half a day in kindergartens."

"We certainly need to approach the education sector with more attention," she underscored. "The conditions, the quality of the education our children get there, and the prevailing atmosphere created in these educational institution are very important. Intellectual, physical, and mental development of children at an early age, identifying their talents and abilities, health care, and establishing contact with people start in these institutions."

The foundation is monitoring the current situation of preschool education institutions. The process initially covered the capital, and will spread throughout the country.

There are 414 such institutions in Baku, 137 of which are in need of major repair, and 11 are in a critical condition. Repair works are currently held in 133 preschool institutions.

Ali Hasanov, the Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Chairperson of the State Committee for the Affairs of Refugees and IDPs, Minister of Education Mikayil Jabbarov, Head of the Baku City Executive Authority Hajibala Abutalybov, and Head of UNICEF's Representative Office in Azerbaijan Mark Hereward also gave a speech.

Abutalibov said 36,977 children are currently educated in 345 preschool educational institutions in Baku. This year, 34 new kindergartens will be opened after repair. However, statistics show that 157,349 children aged from one year to five are in need of kindergartens in Baku.

This means that only 23 percent of the children in this age group can go to kindergartens at present. Thus, there is still a need in 1,105 kindergartens consisting of six groups.

At the end of the ceremony, Aliyeva expressed hope that, like other programs that the Heydar Aliyev Foundation has implemented so far, this program will also be successful.