Educational Challenges in Azerbaijan

Corruption in Azerbaijan: A Guide into Educational Challenges

Azerbaijan is a country located in the Caucasus region, and, up until its independence in 1991, it was ruled by the Soviet Union. Despite the vastness of Azerbaijan’s natural resources, it suffers from inadequate infrastructure impacting numerous sectors, particularly the educational one.

Although education is free in public schools, more advanced instruction is determined by the financial situation of the household.[1] The yearly income of an average Azerbaijani family is 4250 manat (2500$), consequently affecting the educational budget or regular families. Hiring private tutors and paying for school materials require a larger budget than families currently afford. The higher education systems tend to opt for admitting students from wealthy backgrounds and dismiss students from rural and lower-income families.[2]

When it comes to the quality of the educational system, the fact that secondary schools fail to adequately prepare students for university admissions leads to many students failing the university entrance exams due to low performance.[3] Considering the flawed education system, parents from wealthier backgrounds hire private tutors in order to ensure quality education. Those who benefit from the situation are government elites, as their options for providing better education to their offspring are much higher. These children are sometimes then sent abroad to countries such as the USA, Canada, and Western European countries, to continue pursuing a good quality education. Those who cannot afford this are left behind with insufficient education levels.

Access to educational materials such as books, articles, journals, etc., is minimal, especially those in the Azerbaijani language.  University libraries lack the necessary resources for educational purposes, and students complain about the content of such materials being outdated and irrelevant to today.

One of the main reasons for the shortage of educational materials and resources is the government’s lack of support for academic research and translation. The budget proposals for

developing the educational sector and the restricted financial aid and support for academic research leave the country in an intellectual shortage. This is paired with the fact that most often than not, academics migrate to more developed countries that provide them with better incentives for research.

Postgraduate education in Azerbaijan requires significant changes in its system. It needs a lot of attention and development insofar as postgraduate programs do not provide students with the professionalism they need in order to become more specialized in their field. Richard D. Kortum, a Professor Emeritus at East Tennessee State University, describes the poor education in Azerbaijan’s master’s degree education “Master’s students in Azerbaijan commonly have to go through the same course, same instructor, same book, same lecture material, same tests as they did as undergraduates”.[4]

Another major problem existing in Azerbaijan at the moment is bribery. Albeit illegal in the Constitution, it has become a normalized way of survival within the population. The population has no choice but to pay bribes to access all sectors, including education, healthcare, government services, employment, among others. The heads of these institutions benefit from these bribes by putting people in a situation whereby they must pay to have any problem solved.

According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Azerbaijan has scored the lowest post-secondary (tertiary) education enrollment rate compared to other countries in the Caucasus region and Central Asia, as 77% of Azerbaijanis who graduate from school do not enroll in universities. This is likely due to “the poorly conceived and highly centralized state quota allocation system”.[5] Table 1 below shows the percentage of students that applied to universities from 2010 to 2014 in Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, and Kazakhstan.[6]

Educational Challenges in Azerbaijan

 

By Zinat Asadova

 

Sources;

[1] Souce: Mammadova, S., Guliyev, F., Wallwork, L. and Azimli, N., 2016. Human Capital Development in Azerbaijan. Caucasus Analytical Digest, (90), pp. 8,. Available at: <https://www.academia.edu/30431942/The_Quality_of_Education_in_Azerbaijan_Problems_and_Prospects>

[2] Mammadova, S., Guliyev, F., Wallwork, L. and Azimli, N., 2016. Human Capital Development in Azerbaijan. Caucasus Analytical Digest, (90), pp.8,. Available at: <https://www.academia.edu/30431942/The_Quality_of_Education_in_Azerbaijan_Problems_and_Prospects>

[3] Mammadova, S., Guliyev, F., Wallwork, L. and Azimli, N., 2016. Human Capital Development in Azerbaijan. Caucasus Analytical Digest, (90), pp. 7,. Available at: <https://www.academia.edu/30431942/The_Quality_of_Education_in_Azerbaijan_Problems_and_Prospects>

[4] Richard D. Kortum, “Emerging Higher Education in Azerbaijan”, Journal of Azerbaijani Studies, 12, 2009.

[5] Mammadova, S., Guliyev, F., Wallwork, L. and Azimli, N., 2016. Human Capital Development in Azerbaijan. Caucasus Analytical Digest, (90), pp. 7,. Available at: <https://www.academia.edu/30431942/The_Quality_of_Education_in_Azerbaijan_Problems_and_Prospects>

[6] Souce: Mammadova, S., Guliyev, F., Wallwork, L. and Azimli, N., 2016. Human Capital Development in Azerbaijan. Caucasus Analytical Digest, (90), pp. 8,. Available at: <https://www.academia.edu/30431942/The_Quality_of_Education_in_Azerbaijan_Problems_and_Prospects>

No comment yet, add your voice below!


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.