By Ayya Lmahamad
Nowadays, Azerbaijan is considered to be one of the fastest-growing eastern centers of international education.
An improving financial situation inevitably leads to a boom in education - more and more people want to receive a quality education and invest in their professional future. Thus, the quality of universities within the country is increasing significantly, as is the number of citizens studying in foreign universities.
At the same time, the country's primary and secondary education system has expanded significantly, providing children and youth with greater access to education.
Improving material, technical basis of education field
The education field is constantly in the spotlight in the country and a lot of work has been done in this area. In recent years, the issue of considerable renovation of the material and technical basis of education has been solved, more than 3,500 schools were either newly built or fundamentally repaired. In addition, the project on the construction of modular schools in mountainous and remote villages should be completed in 2021-22.
The absolute majority of higher educational institutions in Azerbaijan meet modern standards, new buildings have been constructed and new universities have been established.
In order to strengthen the material and technical base of education, and to bring the curriculum in line with the highest world level, about AZN 1 billion ($588.2M) were allocated from the state as expenditures on education in 2021.
Bologna system, education in English language
The inclusion of Azerbaijan’s higher education system in the Bologna system is considered to be an important step in the country's education field. Azerbaijan took the first step to join the system in 2004.
In 2004, the Azerbaijani Education Ministry prepared a report and submitted it to the European Commission to join the Bologna system. At a conference held in Bergen, in May 2005, the Azerbaijani education minister signed a document on joining the Bologna process.
At the same time, Azerbaijan offers education in the English language in local universities. It should be noted that education programs in English were in Azerbaijan back in the 1990s, but recent investments in infrastructure and human resources have helped greatly improve the quality of education in this language.
Moreover, the Azerbaijani president put on the agenda the issue of creating branches of leading foreign universities in the country. Thus, branches of three foreign higher education institutions started to function in a short time in Azerbaijan.
Education of Azerbaijani youth abroad
Several years ago, the country adopted a special program for the education of young Azerbaijanis abroad. Within the framework of this program, students are sent to leading universities of foreign countries at the expense of state funds (the program is implemented through the State Oil Fund).
There are various programs creating opportunities for Azerbaijani students to study abroad. Among them are the Fullbright international student program, Chevening, FLEX program, Erasmus, DAAD, etc. At the same time, there is an active students exchange process as part of the Bologna system.
As part of intergovernmental scholarship programs for the academic year 2021-22, 200 Azerbaijanis have been granted the right to study at 41 prestigious universities in six countries worldwide. Of them, 36 were admitted to doctoral programs, 143 to master programs and 21 to bachelor programs.
At the same time, Azerbaijan offers exchange programs as well as full-time education for foreign students in local universities. About 5,000 foreign students study in the country today.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree in July 2021 on the establishment of the Education Development Fund. The Fund will function under the Education Ministry. In addition, in September 2021, the president signed a decree on expanding opportunities for the Azerbaijani youth to study at reputable foreign higher education institutions.
Ayya Lmahamad is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AyyaLmahamad
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