By Sara Rajabova
AzerNews newspaper has conducted an interview with Dr. Vafa Kazdal, Dean, School of Humanities and Sciences and Gary Brooks, Teaching Centre Manager of British Council ADA University English Centre
Here is what they told us:
Question: English language is the most-anticipated knowledge of 21st century. How ADA University contributes to meeting this need?
Answer: Gary Brooks: English language is the most useful international language that everybody may know. Even if you just go on holiday, you’re expected to speak English if you don’t know the language of that country. Even you might be expected to speak English in your everyday context. Now, the world is developing and becoming more global and English is more and more emerging as the global lingua-franca of both in academia and also in the professional world. It is also one of the official languages of the EU and UN and it is an informal mean of communication between people everywhere. The ADA University is a very good example of it. It is a locally branded university in Baku, but the language of its teaching is English. Globally English language has turned into a norm in higher education across the globe regardless of the person’s background or global situation. So, it is becoming more and more important that people have the requisite knowledge of English language. There is an interesting distinction when it comes to teaching English. We teach in one of these two ways: either for communication between people and for a pragmatic sense: The professional reasons or cultural reasons. Also, the English language is almost a literally subject in itself by highlighting what the native speakers know about the English language and how they communicate. So, this is why we put it under the umbrella of the most-anticipated or widely used languages.
Vafa Kazdal: The language of construction in the ADA is English. So, it’s the main language of studying here and actually the main language of communication between the students, teachers, staff members and employees of the ADA. I would like to add that we just started graduate admission cycle. One of the requirements for the admission is commanding English language. So, this is where the center plays its role and young people, who are interested in applying to our graduate programs, can either take IELTS courses in our joint English center or even take IELTS exam in the center.
Currently, we offer three graduate programs, which the students can apply for. One of them is the Business Administration: we have a full-time Business Administration program and a full-time Masters Business Administration program. Also we have the Executive Business Administration program for those who work. They can combine their study with their work. We also offer a graduate degree in international affairs and diplomacy and public administration. Those, who are willing to apply to the ADA, can apply to our graduate programs in these three major specializations.
Question: What was the incentive behind the cooperation between ADA University and British Council? What are the main targets of this particular Center?
Answer: G.B. The market in Baku is the one of the quickly becoming centered. If you look around the city, you can see many language schools and relevant advertisements. The British Council, which is based in this teaching center, holds the courses which are run by what we call our network teachers. There are people that used to teaching English in many different international contexts. So, they don’t only have years of experience in teaching English, but they also know about cross-cultural communication. They are able to teach anybody from any nationality or language background by using a methodology we employ in any context. This is something that others rarely offer. I mean, teaching English is not enough regardless of being a native speaker or one who knows the language very well. The knowledge of language doesn’t translate into a successful teaching. So, all of our teachers are extremely well-trained and well-experienced and this gives them flexibility in teaching general and business English to young learners in special fields such as legal, medical ones and etc.
As far as, the partnership with the ADA University is concerned, we are interested in joining forces with very recognized brand in Baku. As I said, the market is centered here and the British Council is instantly recognized as a brand. We want to enter the market in Baku with an extra advantage. So, having the branding of both the British Council and the ADA University, I think, immediately has made a standout. When we offer certificates to our students- the certificate of attendance or certificate of assessment, those certificates give an objective reading and engaging of the SFR level, which they can use in the countrified level. Also, there is the British Council and the ADA University logo on it which makes it very worthy and valuable document both inside and outside of Azerbaijan. So, ultimately it is our target to turn into the highest quality center in the world. Most people want to take part in our courses. Because, we have the flexibility, we can take on with anyone.
Question: Which groups are the main targets of the Center?
Answer: G.B. Everybody in our time needs English language; whether some of them personally motivated, they have an interest in it, personal goal of learning it, or imposed on them externally by the necessity of travel or for professional and academic experience. Everybody could benefit from it. That’s why we try to have courses that will benefit everybody and try to make it available to as many people as possible.
Question: How does this center help those who wish to continue their education abroad?
Answer: G.B. The British Council is the United Kingdom’s cultural relations organization. This means that we don’t only teach English language but also represent the education sector of the United Kingdom, including many universities. So, we can introduce students to appropriate institutions and help them and guide them in making applications to the UK universities. It is an area of specialization for us. Also, the universities require examinations-IELTS, A level or some kind of diploma. The exam department of British Council allows the student to take British qualifications in Azerbaijan, without needing to travel. Also, our qualifications are international and can be used for an entry in foreign institutions. We are able to offer and give suggestions for further development.
Question: How do you see the future of this Center?
Answer: G.B. We are intending to get more involved in with local corporate contracts in Baku. As we are very interested in how Baku is developing as a city. The difference between Baku now and for example ten years ago, even two years ago is significant. When you walk around Baku you can see how seriously it is developing. Baku is an interesting place to be because of that development. This development necessitates English language, also lots of interesting business opportunities. The British Council and the ADA University English language Center wants to be involved in this area as much as possible. We can offer something to other businesses, professionals and people in Baku, who are currently engaged in overall development of the city.
Question: How does ADA and BC contribute to the capacity building of corporate sector in Azerbaijan?
Answer: V.K. The corporate sector is also among our main clients. Whatever trainings or whatever work we provide for them is in the capacity building- be it English language or software skills. So, in a sense in working with corporate sector in providing them with certain trainings is something that the ADA and British Council together contribute to their capacity building. Mainly, in terms of their English language development and software skills, which, in turn, impact very much their work in the international world. We are bringing the world to them and taking them to the world.