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The order to improve structure of the Ministry of Education is the beginning of reforms in the field of governance

Interview with  Minister of Education of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mikayil Jabbarov

Q: Everybody is preparing for the new academic year, including parents, pupils and students. What novelties will the 2014-2015 academic year feature?

A: The sustainable reforms, implemented in the country over recent years, have significantly strengthened an economic power of the country, ensured a dynamic socio-economic development and improved welfare of people. As a result of purposeful economic development strategy, Azerbaijan is now rated a middle-income country.

A transition of development to the level of innovation, formation of competitive national economy and acceleration of development dynamics require solving issues mainly related to human capital, as well as compliance of education with international standards.

The potential of the country should open up opportunities for the development of contemporary and innovative education system and ensure its transformation into an important catalyst for economic growth.

By purpose to develop level of education in the country, comply education with international standards after achieving state independence of Azerbaijan, implementation of wide-range reforms started. Reforms on higher education sphere, surround both of preparation of higher specialized personnel and the directions on amplification of scientific-technical potential of our Republic.

National Strategy under science development for 2009-2015 in Azerbaijan Republic is unity of goal, principle and the approaches of the actions to be taken on this sphere, as well as main directions of state policy on the sphere of development of science and technologies directed on integration of Azerbaijan science in international science space, amplification of legislative base and data provision of science, development of social protection of scientific employees, integration of science, education and manufacturing, provision of inheritance in science and protection of scientific schools, preparation of highly-specialized personnel, development of financing mechanisms of scientific research establishments and science, modernization of scientific infrastructural management system on scientific sphere, formation new type economy under the knowledge, determination of scientific researches priorities in accordance with settlement of important public-cultural problems of the country. Actions on the regulations of strategy will be implemented under “State Program on implementation of State Strategy under scientific development for 2009-2015 in Azerbaijan Republic”.

Q: The issue of textbooks is one of the important one in our education system. What about the provision of pupils with textbooks this academic year?

A: Textbook policy is one of the key priorities in the education strategy of the government of Azerbaijan. Cabinet of Ministries of the Azerbaijan Republic defines the Textbook policy of the country. The goal of the textbook policy is to raise physically and morally healthy pupils with modern knowledge abilities and skills, make them the democratic thinking, ready for independent life citizens, who love and respect its homeland and traditions.

Textbook policy is being executed by the Ministry of Education, as well as its relevant structures, academic institutions, private organizations, and public bodies. In our years of independence we published 7.8 million textbooks in 271 types.

All pupils of the general secondary schools of the Republic of Azerbaijan are being provided by the textbooks free of charge. We are continuously working to improve the quality of textbooks. We involve experts and specialists from institutes of the National Academy of Sciences in this process.

Q: The extension of the academic year is one of the topical issues too…

A: We should approach to this issue from the perspective of reducing the school workforce of pupils. In develop countries the academic year is 38 weeks, while we have 32 weeks in Azerbaijan. Our major task is to ensure high quality education for our future generations and also created favorable conditions for our schoolchildren to easily master their knowledge. And the extension of the academic year is one of the important steps in this direction.

Q: What about the novelties in higher educational area. SABAH group is one of such novelties…

A: SABAH groups open wide opportunities to the students who want to be professional specialist under his specialty. Students who will be admitted in SABAH groups not only will get opportunity for higher level study but also will get several privileges like additional scholar during academic years, free placement in the hostel, food.  

Modern visions, higher education, proficiency of several languages in rapidly growing world significantly increase chance to build up prospective career, find a job in the future. Taking into account this point, swift education program will be applied in accordance with the desires of the students in SABAH groups. Exchanges with the universities of foreign countries, regular relations with main employers will be given great importance during academic year.

Graduate of SABAH group will not only know native language but also English language perfectly. Selected students will be sent to foreign countries. Creating 33 universities, SABAH groups will surround 52 specialties. Students who get the best indicators under his specialty will be placed in the universities.

Q: One of the recent events in the education system was the head of state`s signing an order to improve the structure of the Ministry of Education. What changes will it bring about?

A: The order to improve structure of the Ministry of Education is the beginning of reforms in the field of governance. Under the order, passive educational bodies under the ministry will be replaced with new executive bodies aimed at ensuring full control over situation in schools, developing human resources, ensuring transparency and optimizing the education process. This will open up wide opportunities for strengthening governance in education and increase responsibility of workers of education sector.