Education turns into on of the significant spheres of human activity in XXI century. Achievements in this field lay in the basis of important social and technological changes. The great attention paid to the education and its development in the Republic of Azerbaijan, as well as in other countries depends on strategic importance of this sphere, the role of education in the society and interests of the major part of countries population.
The education reforms carrying out in our country since gaining independence have global nature and cover all its aspects. The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan approved "The Reform Program in Education" which aims to identify strategic dimensions of reforms in education sphere.
Azerbaijan has to strengthen international relations and mutual cooperation to make progress in education sphere and to bring the education system of Azerbaijan in a line with international standards. As a result of activity of Azerbaijan in the international scene, our Republic joined conventions for European (Paris, 1979) Region and South-Eastern Asia (Bangkok, 1983), and also Lisbon Convention from 1997, which was prepared jointly with the Council of Europe and UNESCO. The Republic of Azerbaijan is a member of series of international instruments on educational issues, such as Convention on mutual recognition of diplomatic and scientific degrees.
On October 2, 2006 the Republic of Azerbaijan joined to the Convention on “Combat with discrimination in educational system” (December 14, 1960), also to the dated Protocol on “Establishing goodwill service commission for solving disagreements, arisen among the states joined to the Convention on “Combat with discrimination in educational system”” ( December 10, 1962).
Today the representatives of the education system of Azerbaijan participate in the activity of UNESCO, UNICEF, UNEVOK, ISESCO and European Educational Fund; also our Republic collaborates with the bodies on education issues of the international organizations, such as the Council of Europe and the European Union using their practice and assistance.
Generally, Azerbaijan participates in the following regional and international projects and programs:
- "Fraternized schools of the USA and Commonwealth of Independent States" project. In the framework of this project 25 pupils and teachers from 5 schools were sent to the USA to get education in American schools and the same number of American students and teachers visited Azerbaijan.
- "The development of vocational education" - joint project of the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Azerbaijan and European Educational Fund. The project aims to reconstruct vocational education in Azerbaijan.
- "The improvement of English teaching methods in educational establishments" - joint program of the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Great Britain. In the framework of this Program Seminars on English teaching methods are held in Baku and other regions, Azerbaijani teachers participate in advanced training courses in Great Britain. The program also aims to render expert assistance in preparing English teaching programs and textbooks.
- "The legislation on providing the quality of high education in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia" - joint project with the Educational Department of the Council of Europe. The project aims to assist establishment of mechanisms on providing the quality of education.
- "Tbilisi initiative" with the Council of Europe - joint regional project. This project considers the preparation of textbooks titled "The history of nations of Caucasus" for the 15-16 years old pupils.
- The joint regional project with the Council of Europe on topic "Education on democratic citizenship". The project aims to assist preparation of educational programs, studies, textbooks and other materials on the theme of "Human and society", which comply with international standards by the Council of Europe.
- The joint project with the Council of Europe on "The policy of educational sphere of national minorities". The project aims to provide inputs in the sphere of education policy of national minorities.
- The international project of the European Union such as TEMPUS/ TACIS renders financial and technical assistance to high educational institutions.
- The joint project between Montana State University and the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Azerbaijan on the preparation of education programs, textbooks, high-level stuff in the area of basis of democracy in education system and in the training on citizenship.
- According to the Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan on "Reforms in Education sphere" "Reform Program" was prepared jointly with the World Bank. World Bank gave 5 million USD credit for implementation of this program.
- In the light of cooperation with ACCELS, the non-governmental educational organization of the USA in the years of 1999-2000 276 Azerbaijani young people were sent to the USA to get education in the framework of FSA/FLEX, FSA-Bachelor Degree, Edmund Maxi (2 years Master Degree Program), Intellectual Development of Youth and Study Exchange of Pupils and other programs. USA gave 27 million USD to the implementation of this program.
- In the framework of cooperation with the USA IREX company, in 1996-2000 years more than 50 Azerbaijani citizens got education and raised the level of their skills.
- "Harmony Project" financed by the State Department of the USA covers 10 secondary education schools and considers the establishment of the Resource Center in these schools, supplying them with equipment and raising the level of skills of teachers.
- 44 schools were repaired and 4 new schools were opened in Khizi, Devechi and Salyan regions of Azerbaijan in the framework of cooperation program with Germany QTZ Company.
- DAAD- Germany Academic Exchange Service contributes into the cooperation between Azerbaijan and Germany. About 430 joint programs have been implemented since the establishing of cooperation on education between our countries. This program include in probation period, exchange of experience, germanistics and language courses, research conduction, education on Master Degree and other issues.
- In the framework of cooperation program with Japan Government, International Development Association gave a special grant to prepare education reform project in our country. This grant was spent on preparation of new reform program, identification of the education strategy for the next 10 years, segregation and realization of education priorities.
Azerbaijan also cooperates with the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) which is responsible for strengthening collaboration between Islamic countries in the fields of education, science and culture.
On December 3-4, 2004 joint international symposium was held in Baku by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Azerbaijan and ISESCO on topic “Globalization and it’s influence to Muslim society”. As the continuation of the topic on May 26, 2005 ISESCO Educational Week was opened at the Ministry of Education. Only in 3 of 50 ISESCO member states Educational week was held and participation of the General Director of ISESCO Abdulaziz Bin Osman El Tuveyer at the official opening ceremony is a visual indicator of effective collaboration between the Republic of Azerbaijan and ISESCO. In the frame of ISESCO Educational Week agreements to organize trainings for Arabian language teachers and national seminar on education for citizenship were signed between ISESCO and the Ministry of Education.
Although Azerbaijan is not a member of the European Union, it collaborates with its bodies in the sphere of education. On October 26, 2004 Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the International Association for the promotion of co-operation with scientists from the New Independent States of the former Soviet Union (INTAS)” was signed. Scientists from Azerbaijan take part in financial programs announced by INTAS, and are able to gain financial support from the EU in order to realize different projects.
On June 1, 2005 “Scholarship for Young Scientists” program for the year of 2005 was announced by INTAS. Taking into consideration a large number of researchers from new independent states, and limited financial resources of INTAS, INTAS decided to prepare joint project financed by Azerbaijan, Moldova and Georgia. On March 6, 2006 Joint financed project on South Caucasus was announced by INTAS.
On May 17-18, 2004 in the framework of the Council of Europe’s project on "Providing the quality of education in Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia" conference of the Ministers of Education of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia was held in Strasburg. The cooperation program between 3 South Caucuses countries and the Secretariat of the Council of Europe for 2005-2006 years was adopted during this conference.
The year of 2005 was memorable for our country. On May 19-20, 2005 the 4th ministerial conference on Bologna process (known as European co-operation process in sphere of higher education) was held in Bergen (Norway). During abovementioned conference 5 countries including Azerbaijan (Armenia, Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine) officially joined Bologna process. This process was launched in 1968 and the main goal of the process is to achieve European Higher Education Area for free movement of scientific staff and students and possibility of recognizing of their professions by the 2010.
In September-December of 2005 in the frame of OSCE chairmanship ( in 2005 Slovenia was chairman of OSCE) “Special Pilot Project for Education of Human Rights” based on Child Rights Convention was held in country for 10-12 years old children. The educational materials were translated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs into Azerbaijani language. Before the beginning of the project counselor of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia, responsible person for OSCE issues B.Yamnishek visited our country on September 20-22, 2005. Within her visit B.Yamineshek met with the Ministers of Education , Youth, Sports and Tourism, and with the representatives of international organizations working in Azerbaijan (OSCE, Council of Europe, UNICEF) and NGO’s working in the sphere of training of children for human rights. The project was finished in December of 2005 and included 5 schools, 14 teachers and 476 pupils.
On May 30, 2005 in order to modernize different stages of educational system, monitor quality of education at educational institutions, and analyze the problems in this sphere and to take appropriate measures, Decree for “Establishing Educational Commission under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan” was signed by the President.
Azerbaijan’s dynamical development and intensive integration to international organizations have also influenced the educational system of the country.
The training and preparation of national professionals in the field of governance, industry and economy is of a national interest in our country. With this purpose, on October 19, 2006 Order № 1746 on “State Program for education of Azerbaijani youth abroad” was signed by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
On December 3-4, 2009 6th Teenage International Scientific Olympic Games on physics, chemistry and biology were held in Baku with participation of 600 pupils from 49 countries. Azerbaijan was the first European country to host this event.
By the Decree of the President of Azerbaijan dated on May 4, 2009 “National Strategy on Development of Science in 2009-2015 in the Republic of Azerbaijan” and “State Program on implementation of National Strategy on Development of Science in 2009-2015 in the Republic of Azerbaijan” were adopted.
By the Decree of the President of Azerbaijan dated on May 22, 2009 “State Program on reforms in the system of higher education in the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2009-2013” was adopted.
In 2010 National Contact Points were appointed on fields of priority for Azerbaijan related to the EU’s 7th Framework Program on Research and Technological Development.
On October 25-26, 2010 Azerbaijani delegation participated at workshop entitled European integration and Jean Monnet program” organized by European Commission and Ukraine in Kiev.
In 2010 first republican contest “What do I know about Azerbaijan” was organized on initiative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and by support of Ministry of Education, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the State Committee on the Issues of Family, Women and Child for the children of diplomats accredited in Azerbaijan.