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Development of education is the focus of the government's attention

Interview with  MP Leyla Abdullayeva

Q: Developing education is one of the key priorities for the Azerbaijani government. How do you assess reforms in the education sector?

A: The foundations of Azerbaijan`s educational achievements were laid by national leader Heydar Aliyev. It is good that national leader`s policy is successfully continued by President Ilham Aliyev. Comprehensive measures are being taken in the country to develop education. Budgetary spending on education amounts to billions. Large-scale educational reforms are being carried out in the country. The main aim of reforms is to bring education to western standards.

In one of his speeches President Ilham Aliyev said: “Therefore, the investment made in education and science in Azerbaijan is and will be giving results. The thesis of “transforming black gold into human capital” we put forward a few years ago is already a reality. Thousands of Azerbaijani boys and girls are receiving education in leading universities around the world. I am sure that the educational reforms under way in Azerbaijan will soon produce good results.”

Q: We would like you to highlight the importance of state programs aimed at developing education.

A: The development of science and education is our future and the future of any nation. I have repeatedly pointed out that the future of our country will be associated with science and education. We are happy that there is a very high literacy rate in Azerbaijan – almost 100 per cent. This gives us the opportunity to improve the quality of education and develop science even faster. This is the future of any country. At the same time, competent and well-educated young people are far from radicalism. Therefore, the development of science and education, the education of competent young people will provide for a long-term sustainable development of our country.

Reforms in the higher education field are implemented within the cooperation with European institutions, the European Union, with the European Commission. Joining the Bologna process has a special role in the reforms in higher education. In 2005, Azerbaijan joined the process intending creation of a single European space of higher education and which began in 1999. Joining of Azerbaijan to the Bologna process made a need to get higher education in the country, meeting the common European standards. Since 2005, reforms are carried out in this direction. 

Action Plan was approved for the implementation of the Bologna Declaration, which covers the period 2006-2010. But the most important step in higher education reform is the adoption of the state program on May 22, 2009, approved by the President of Azerbaijan. The main purpose of "State Programme of reforms in the higher education system in the Republic of Azerbaijan for 2009-2013 years" was the integration of higher education of the country to European education space, building of its content in accordance with the principles of the Bologna process, providing of attractiveness and the competitiveness, meeting of needs in high educated staff according to  development requirements of the national economy, as well as formation of cadre potential in accordance with the requirements of information society and knowledge-based economy, formation of system of effective education system from economic and social point of view for providing opportunities to get higher education meeting the modern requirements of the population.

Main objective of “State Program on education of Azerbaijani youth in foreign countries in the years 2007 and 2015” approved by decree of the President of Azerbaijan on April 16, 2007 are: to bring the number of Azerbaijani youths sent for study abroad at the expense of state on all levels of education to 1000 persons in the year in 2015, and their total number during 2007-2015 to 5,000, dividing  education within the financial resources allocated, for the bachelor's, master's, residency, doctoral degrees, as well as qualification improvement and retraining, providing of  professional training on the basis of  the exchange of students among higher education institutions  and based on intergovernmental agreements, taking into account the priorities of economic development of republic.

Q: How would you assess a legislative basis for development of education?

A: In 2010, the Milli Majlis adopted the law on education was adopted by the third convocation of the parliament. The law meets the requirements of the modern state development and current challenges. The law provides opportunities for transformation to European values by preserving national traditions. I think this law is much more perfect that laws of many European countries.

I would also like to note that the Milli Majlis will consider the Law on Science at its spring session.

As you know science is also one of the priority areas for President Ilham Aliyev.

Q: You are a member of the parliamentary committee on culture. Could you please speak of the future plan of action and issues on the agenda?

A: We have recently adopted the Law on Culture. It outlines objectives and principles of the government`s culture policy, stipulates duties and responsibilities of subjects of cultural activity, and defines economic and social allowances, and regulates relations in the fields of creation, collection, study, promotion and preservation of the cultural values.

Another novelty is connected with the national kitchen culture. We have developed a relevant draft law. It is the first law of its kind. Members of the culture committee of the Milli Majlis welcomed the draft law.

I would also like to laud the efforts of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation led by first lady, UNESCO and ISESCO good will ambassador Mehriban Aliyeva. What the Heydar Aliyev Foundation is doing to preserve and promote Azerbaijan`s cultural legacy is a vivid evidence of Mehriban Aliyeva`s tireless work.

Q: You represent Sumgayit in the parliament. What could you say of the city`s construction activities and development processes in the city in recent years?

A: Large-scaled reconstruction and redevelopment work is underway in Sumgayit. The President of Azerbaijan Mr. Ilham Aliyev has repeatedly visited Sumgayit. He attended the opening of the Heydar Aliyev Center, and inspected repair work at Juma mosque and visited Flag Square. The Head of State attended the inauguration of the Sumgayit ASAN Service of the State Agency for Citizens' Service and Social Innovation under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Gilan Textile Park.

As you know 2014 was announced the Year of Industry in Azerbaijan. And Sumgayit is the second largest industrial center in the South Caucasus after Baku.

As President Ilham Aliyev said Sumgayit will become one of the world`s largest industrial centers.