Ambassador delivers interesting overview to EDU Secretary-General
In continuation of his recent theme of strengthening involvement in
the Caucasus Region of Eurasia, H.E. Irving Le-Vance, the
Secretary-General of the Intergovernmental Organization EDU, was
received by renowned Azerbaijan diplomat His Excellency Altai
Efendiev. The pleasant meeting covered a wide range of educational,
economic and investment related issues relevant to the country and
Prior to that appointment Ambassador Efendiev had an economic
background and before he joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in
May 1992, worked as academic researcher as well as lectured in
universities in Baku, Azerbaijan. During 1994-2000 he served as
Economic and Commercial Counsellor at the Embassy of Azerbaijan to
the UK covering also Denmark, Ireland, Norway and Sweden.
until May 2004 he served as Head of Department of Economic
Cooperation and Development and Economic Adviser to Minister of
He is well familiar with the Organisation of the BSEC and has been actively involved in its activities as a member of
the Committee of Senior Officials of the BSEC, as well as National
Director representing Azerbaijan at the influential think-tank
International Centre for Black Sea Studies – ICBSS.
Turning to education matters, Ambassador Efendiev explained that
Azerbaijan still faces challenges in its transition from the former
Soviet system, based on ideology. There has been rapid growth due to
policies to build a modern, flexible, dynamic education system to
cope with rapidly changing demands. There is a big demand for
qualified specialists such as Engineers and that high demand is not
yet being met by local institutions.
His Excellency Altai
Efendiev, interview with media 'El
The Government of Azerbaijan has implemented a state
program to send students abroad to study which began in
2007 and will run until 2015 when its efficacy is
re-assessed. More than 1000 students have participated
in this program which features generous scholarships
which cover travel and living costs as well as tuition
fees. This program is run parallel to a domestic program
modernizing the national education system.
The main need
has been identified as being for specialized education –
not necessarily higher education but specialised to fit
what the economy and job market requires.
Primary and secondary education is compulsory, while
tertiary education is optional.
A number of private
universities have been established in the last decade
and while largely successful, not all have met the
In all probability, the number of
private universities will reduce as tougher standards
are enforced by stricter oversight. This is a move which
is thoroughly supported by EDU.
In the Soviet era, Azerbaijan provided education
programs to students from developing countries in the
oil, engineering and medical disciplines. There are
moves to regain this status as an education exporter,
which will provide an aspect of diversification to an
economy largely based around hydrocarbons.
is being led by the program to attract international
student to the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy
where the programs are taught in English.
As a keen advocate of the educational qualities of
sport, the Secretary-General was impressed with an
initiative earlier this year by the new
Realmadrid Foundation to establish a social
football school in Azerbaijan.
It will be located in the city of Baku and will benefit
100 boys and girls who are at risk of social exclusion.
The Realmadrid Foundation and the Ministry of Youth and
Sports of the Republic of Azerbaijan signed a
collaboration agreement in April. The ceremony, which
was held in the Santiago Bernabéu stadium’s Salón Real,
was presided over by Enrique Sánchez, the Executive
Vice-President of the Realmadrid Foundation; Ismayil
Ismayilov, the Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports of
Azerbaijan; and of course was attended by Ambassador
According to Enrique Sánchez, executive vice-president
of the Realmadrid Foundation:
“We hope to have the new school operating at the
start of the upcoming 2013-2014 season, which will
benefit 100 boys and girls, who will be educated in
values through football. Values which are very important
for their personal development such as team-spirit,
teamwork, effort and overcoming problems”.
The Ambassador ended his overview with the observation
that Azerbaijan is a majority Muslim but nonetheless
Secular country and is proud of the fact that is a model
demonstrating the move of a multi-ethnic, post-Soviet
society moving from a centralized to a to a market
The Secretary-General thanked the Ambassador for an
enlightening overview of current and future developments
of the Azerbaijan Education system and agreed to study
possible areas for cooperation.