While strengthening of competition in social-economical activity in information society where globalization grows rapidly as well as finishing of natural resources gradually, role of higher education grows more. Role of higher education is undeniable fact in formation of human capital in Azerbaijan as other countries.
Application of two-round higher education (bachelor and master degree) started at the begining of 90’s years. For the first time, student admission has been performed on bachelor level under more than 300 specialties, 80 directions in 23 universities. Fundamental changes and novelties tok place in content of bachelor education in previous years. So, existing rules have been improved, education programs have been created under specialties, standards in accordance with the requirements of world education system, as well as application of credit system in education started.
After first graduation on bachelor level in 1997 according to consent of Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan Republic, second-master level is allowed in 23 state, 9 private universities for the first time by Order No. 412, dated 17.06.1997 of The Ministry of Education.
Admission is implemented by SSAC since that year in accordance with “Regulations about State Commission on Student Admission of Azerbaijan Republic” approved by Decree No. 219 dated 06.04.2005 of The President of Azerbaijan Republic.
Since the begining of 90’s years of previous century, though the discussions were made on the reforms in education system, the issues haven’t performed systematically or planned on this direction due to absence of reform conception, implementation mechanism. After approval of “Reform Program of Azerbaijan Republic on education sphere” by great leader in 1999, the reforms are implemented purposefully in whole education system as well as higher education phase. According to the same program, as other phases structural changes were made on education sphere, network of the establishments has been optimized, new specialties have been added in specialist preparation structure.
According to Decree dated June 13, 2000 “About development of education system in Azerbaijan Republic” of The President of Azerbaijan, not depending on form of property and subordination authority on control of education’ quality is given to The Ministry of Education.
Educational establishments are given full authority, independence lately. Higher education establishments started to prepare, approve education plan under Education Programs on State education standards and specialty, as well as determine its internal structure, staff of state attestation commission, scentific councils independetnly.
In addition, 6 universities (Baku State University, Azerbaijan Medical University, Azerbaijan State Agrarian University, Azerbaijan State Oil Academy, Azerbaijan State Economic University, Nakhchivan State University) are given full indepence and they establish their activities under self-management principle. Mentioned universities are financed from seperate state budget since 2001.
Application of new mechanism under evaluation of students’ knowledges started in experimental form since 1999 and this system surrounds all the universities.
Preparation of teacher personnel who has deep thinking, pedagogical and methodological skills or meets modern requirements, are constantly foccused. Several actions are taken on the direction of work development. So, professiogram that defines teacher competence has been compiled, by purpose to provide rural regions schools with teacher personnel double majors ahve been added in classification of existing specialties.
Within Education Sector Development Project jointly with World Bank, The Ministry of Education has compiled new curriculum that ensures preparation of elementary class teacher, as well as “Conception and strategy of preparation of teacher and continuous pedagogical education in Azerbaijan Republic” under “Teacher preparation” sub-components and the same documents have been approved. Curriculum on preparation of elementary school teacher is applied in 3 pilot universities (Azerbaijan State Pedagogical University, Azerbaijan Insititute of Teachers, Ganca State University).
Integration of education system of European countries and formation of european higher education space demonstrate special urgency. From this point of view, Bolonia process is very important among performed actions. Azerbaijan joined in Bolonia process on May 19, 2005. In order to execute the regulations of Bolonia Declaration according to plan of relevant actions that surround 2006-2010, “Structure of minimum state requirements assigned on content and level of bachelor preparation” has been approved and new generation state education standards have been prepared under relevant directions. Application of credit system in higher education becomes a necessity regarding with joining in Bolonia process. Experience of several foreign countries on the direction of creation of legislative norm on application of this system, has been learned, “Exemplary Regulations on organization of education by credit system in the universities” has been approved, credit system initialy has been applied in the form of experiment in several universities. Experiment started in 10 universities for 2006-2007, surrounded all specialties of the universities in the next years.
“Rules on organization of education with credit system on bachelor and master level of the universities” has been compiled under collected experience and approved by Decision No. 348 dated 24.12.2013 of Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan Republic.
One of attractive points is equialency of the diplomas and preparation of annex to diploma that has vital importance in mutual recognition within framework of Bolonia process. Single model of annex to diploma (sample) has been compiled by joint work group with the experts of European Commission, European Council and UNESCO. Annex to diploma compiled under the same model simplify academic mobility and starting its activity in labor market. Taking into account all these points, “Annex to diploma” has been compiled according to relevant sample (model) in our country and approved by Order No. 990 dated August 8, 2008 of The Minitry of Education and submitted in all universities.
By purpose to accelerate woth works on the sphere of fulfillment of the rquirements of Bolonia Decleration and integration of our education to world education system, specially inttegration of the universities to European higher education space, Ilham Aliyev, The President of Azerbaijan Republic signed Order dated January 31, 2008 “About several actions on integration of the universities of Azerbaijan Republic to European higher education space”. “State Program under the reforms in hgher education system of Azerbaijan republic for 2009-2013” has been compiled in accordance with 1 st Item of the same Order and approved by Cabinet of Ministers. By purpose to ensure execution of State Program, activity plan has been compiled by The Ministry of Education. Execution of State Program ended in 2013 and report has been submitted in government.
Expiry date from approval of classification of existing higher education specialties (1997), changing of infrastructure of Republic’ economy and requirement of labor market, joining of Azerbaijan Republic in Bolonia process, compliance of the specialties (programs) on bachelor level, classification to relevant documents approved by UNESCO at the same time existing of the specialties where personnel preparation (approximately specialist preparation isn’t performed under 264 specialties from 531 specialties) aren’t performed in the same classification, make necessity for its design. It’s not accidental that, renovation of this document has been discussed in Education Commission, “Classification of the specialties (programs) on bachelor level of higher education” has been compiled by work group and after discussion in the universities these documents have been approved by Decision No. 8 dated January 12, 2009 of Cabinet of Ministers. Education programs on State stndards under all specialties that are included in classification and specialist preparation, have been prepared and are applied in the universities.
“Law of Azerbaija Repuclic about Education” has been approved by Decree No. 156, dated September 5, 2009 of President of Republic. By purpose to execute Decree, according to Order No. 247s, dated September 17, 2009 of Cabinet of Ministers, “Actions plan” has been approved by Order No. 1084, dated September 25, 2009 of The Ministry of Education. According to the same plan, wide work has been performed on the direction of coordination of the requirements of Law of Azerbaijan Republic “About education” of legislative base on higher education. So, drafts of the rules and Regulations on state standard and program of higher education phase, content and organization of bachelor education, content of master degree, organization and awarding of “master” degree, keeping of the posts of head of department, dean and deputy dean in the universities, giving of certificate to the persons who hasn’t completed any phase and level of education due to any reasons, samples of state certificates on bachelor and amster levels and its issue, organization of education with credit system, transfer of the trainees on the same levels, dismiss, restoration and taking academic leave, have been compiled and approved by relevant executive powers. “Exemplary Regulations of Higher Education Establishment” has been approved by Decision No. 09 dated 21.01.2011 of Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan Republic and the Charters of the universities have been compiled on basis of the same document.
“State Strategy under development of education in Azerbaijan Republic” has been compiled by Order dated 24.10.2103 of The President of Azerbaijan Republic. “Actions plan” on implementation of strategy has been compiled and submitted in government for approval.
Issues like preparation and application of higher education standards that ensure preparation of competitive specialist and support becoming eduction-research-innovation centers of the universities in “Actions plan”, creation of new system that ensures constant development of proficiency’ level of the educators, creation of system under development of state policy, detection, development and support of talanted trainees under development of teacher occupation and reputation, re-creation of regulation of higher education, system and management of state education sctor under international foremost practice, creation of result-oriented and transparent manegement model in education establishments, creation of new system under quality assurance of education, preparation of new evaluation mechanisms that surround all levels of higher eduction, are envsaged.