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Shamsaddin Hajiev

AZERBAIJAN - Health & Education

Creative Change

Azerbaijan State Economic University, Rector

Bio

Shamsaddin Hajiev began his career as an economist at the Scientific Research Economic Institute of the Azerbaijan State Planning Commission in 1970, and eventually became a Section Director. He joined the D Bunyadzadeh Institute of National Economy in 1981, taking Associate Professor status in 1986, and later gaining a second Associate Professorship in 1992, before making full Professor in 2004. He was appointed Rector of the Azerbaijan State Economic University also in 2004, and was elected to the National Assembly in the 2010 elections. He is also a member of the Science and Education Committee at the National Assembly, as well as participating in numerous inter-parliamentary working groups.

What significant reforms have taken place at the university since Azerbaijan gained independence? The revival in the economy that followed independence caused a revitalization of the education sector. The National […]

What significant reforms have taken place at the university since Azerbaijan gained independence?

The revival in the economy that followed independence caused a revitalization of the education sector. The National Leader and former President, Heydar Aliyev, then went on to grant our institution university status in 2000, and that became the turning point for our operations. Since that time our university has begun targeted actions in the field of innovation, computer technology, and education improvement in terms of staff and materials. The qualitative changes taking place in all spheres of the country’s social and economic life for the last five years have laid the foundations for the formation of a quite new system, for stable macro-economic growth, and for sufficient consolidation and integration into the world economy. In parallel with this process, the requirements for the level of trained specialists, economists, the logistics of higher educational institutions, and the renewal and improvement of education infrastructure also changed. In accordance with those requirements, Azerbaijan State Economic University launched radical reforms in several directions. Attitudes to student-professor relations, assessment, and teaching aids changed across the entire educational spectrum. A total of 21 virtual laboratories are operating at the university, and the number of computers used there has exceeded 1,000. E-libraries are functioning at the university, and in order to extend the students’ chances of selection, textbooks used in leading European and American universities have been translated into Azerbaijani, and students have been provided with over 150 translated textbooks. A complex set of actions has been carried out to promote the quality of the education process by making use of creative methods.

What kind of education reforms and programs are being carried out to train students in accordance with labor market demands?

A new innovative model of economic education has been developed and successfully applied at our university. The new model enables students to master the practical skills and abilities required from modern managers alongside fundamental academic training. Market and macro-economic processes are animated virtually in specialized classrooms on the basis of the wide application of information technology and educational software.

What is the importance of having foreign students at the university?

One of the aims of Azerbaijan State Economic University is to expand our international relations and increase productivity. We aim to develop cooperation with leading European educational institutions in the framework of the Bologna Process, and develop other projects with universities in Europe. Alongside the projects being realized and to be realized, we maintain durable cooperation in student exchange with a number of universities, in countries such as the US, Australia, Germany, France, Canada, Latvia, Russia, Ukraine, Northern Cyprus, Turkey, and Georgia. On the other hand, at present, over 850 students and MA students from 14 countries from around the world are receiving education at Azerbaijan State Economic University. We involve them in the social life of the university along with their education. It has already turned into a pleasant tradition for our foreign students to participate in social events related to national holidays, to sing Azerbaijani songs, and perform our national dances.

How is the university working to further integrate itself into the world education system?

Our university is integrating fast into the European and global education system. Our university is a full member of the Association of European Universities, the Federation of the Universities of the Islamic World, the Euro-Asian Association of Universities, the International Association of Universities, and the Council of Universities of the Countries of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization. The achievements of our educational institution are recognized and assessed by a number of local and international institutions. In this regard, the WTO Reference Center and the World Bank’s Information Center functioning at our university can be underlined as key aspects of our university’s global vision.

What is the level of cooperation between the private sector and the university within the framework of your MBA programs?

The MBA program operating at our university was established in December, 2001, on the basis of an agreement signed between our university and Moscow State University of Economics, Statistics, and Informatics. The agreement also includes aspects on the improvement of teaching staff and administrative employees. The program sees the training of qualified specialists capable of managing competing enterprises effectively, with a perfect mastery of modern management technology, and awareness of all important areas of modern business. At present, the total number of MBA students exceeds 700, and includes students from Russia, China, Turkey, Sudan, Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. The MBA curriculum is very close to the curricula of the University of California and Chicago Business School. The lectures are conducted by instructors with foreign experience, well-known professors from other universities, as well as professors from foreign countries. Leading private sector companies are also deeply involved in the education process.

What measures should be taken to further improve the education sector in Azerbaijan?

The adoption of the Education Law in June 2009 is, no doubt, one of the most important steps in the development of the Azerbaijani education sector. No previous law had ever caused such intense public discussion, and the law was eventually very well received by the academic community and the general population. The new law acts as a legal base for the complete guarantee of the right to education for citizens as stipulated in the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and includes the creation of equal educational conditions for each citizen, the maintenance of free secondary education, a more liberal educational system in general, the treatment of education as a factor of national security, and its entrance to the jurisdiction of the market economy as a whole. At the same time, the new law considers the formation of a national model of education based on international experiences.

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