Background on Education in Azerbaijan: Azerbaijan has a multifaceted history, including two periods of independence bracketing seven decades in which it was part of the Soviet Union. Located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, the country shares land borders with Russia, Georgia, Iran, and Armenia, and has a long shoreline with the Caspian Sea. Azerbaijan is a secular constitutional democracy, in which the President holds ultimate executive authority and Parliament serves as an administrative power in which the Ministry of Education (MoE) and the Cabinet of Ministers govern the centralized education system. While educational strategies, amendments and legislative matters regarding education are controlled by the Cabinet of Ministers, the Ministry of Education (headed by a Fulbright alumnus) is the primary entity responsible for development and implementation of state-wide educational policies.
In Azerbaijan, “university” refers to a four-year entity offering a Bachelor's (Bakalvr) as well as Master’s (Magistr) degree, while “colleges” offer two-year vocational education. Management responsibilities within each higher education institution are divided between appointed rector, vice-rector and departmental deans. Although higher education in Azerbaijan is based on the Soviet model and many of the institutions still have structures and operations based on the Soviet system, educational modernization is a priority at the government and university level, making this an exciting period to engage with Azerbaijan’s education sector. Efforts at engaging in the Bologna process and Erasmus have aided student mobility to Europe and many institutions are building partnerships with Western universities. Universities are highly interested in international partnerships, an interest that creates opportunities for forging linkages. For example, a recent Fulbright Scholar initiated fruitful discussions on a joint-degree program between his American institution and the Baku-based university at which he taught.
Language of Instruction: Most public universities have departments and programs in English. All private universities have English as a main language of instruction.
Recent changes in the higher-education system: In 2013, the Ministry of Education adopted and began implementing an ambitious reform program to bring its offerings in line with international leaders. As part of its strategy to improve the quality of teaching and education at its public universities, the Ministry established “SABAH” (“tomorrow”), a program at the country’s 11 higher-education institutions. Over 2,500 students enrolled in this special program for talented Azerbaijani students with specially trained teachers and professors and a special curriculum offered exclusively to SABAH students, several of which are taught in English. Many departments in public universities, following the example of private schools, opened departments and tracks at which the primary language of instruction is English. Recent changes in the administration of large public universities have led to large-scale reforms on campuses to modernize curriculum, fight corruption, and bring international expertise to improve instruction.
Information on the education system of Azerbaijan
Ministry of Education
Higher Education Institutions of Azerbaijan