Education as the foundation of a successful future (OPINION)
by Ilham Nagiyev
Education is one of the main conditions for the existence and future presence of every nation. Scientific and technical progress and development is considered to be a determining factor in the 21st century, and therefore, the issue of the quality of education is of particular importance. Education has been one of the areas of serious competition for many years being the basis of sophisticated and professional staff and “human capital”.
Education always involves future-oriented activities. In the dynamic information age, the application of innovations is not only the basis of achieving accomplishments, but also of sustainable development. Consequently, the investment in education for every state is an investment in the future.
Faster transfer of foreign experience
Building a new, high-quality education system and ensuring its sustainability is a long and challenging process. However, with effective educational programs, it is possible to realize serious achievements in the field of education in a short time. In the current conditions, forming a competitive infrastructure in Azerbaijan with European and American educational institutions may take a long time. Nevertheless, directing the educated personnel to prestigious higher education institutions of the world can enable the transfer of foreign experience to Azerbaijan and create a significant quality change in a short time.
Thus, one of the important steps in the development of education in Azerbaijan is related to the programs of studying abroad. A total of 2,000 students are estimated to study at prestigious universities abroad as part of the “State Program for 2022-2026”. The priority qualifications provided for in the program are directly related to the future development areas of Azerbaijan and will serve to shape the personnel potential in these fields.
Specializations such as information technologies, engineering, aviation and space, energy, transport and logistics, economy and agriculture are suitable for the development fields of Azerbaijan in the coming period. Such programs, which will provide conditions for integration into the world education system and the training of professional personnel, shape the basis of the formation process of “human capital” in Azerbaijan.
Creating local examples based on foreign experience
The creation of a quality and independent education system is the basis for the formation of healthy and competitive “human capital”. Because each state creates its own professional specialists at the expense of internal potential, which is the basis of safer and sustainable development.
Therefore, only the application of innovations and innovative approaches in the field of higher education is not sufficient to create a healthy educational environment. For the reason that preschool, secondary and higher education levels are closely related to each other. The gap left in any listed step has a determining role in the quality of the following step. Consequently, first of all, the development of all levels of education should be ensured in an equal and integrated manner.
Among the main development areas of education in the modern world is the organization of education according to the STEAM approach. This new approach combines the theory and practice and allows not only to gain knowledge, but also to effectively apply this knowledge. The STEAM technique provides a unified coordination of technology, art, mathematics, natural sciences and engineering. This technique allows students to acquire knowledge that can be put through real experience instead of unnecessary information load.
In recent years, the application of STEAM and other innovative approaches in pre-school and secondary educational institutions in Azerbaijan has attracted attention. As of 2022, more than 120,000 students have been studying in 302 secondary schools and 15 STEAM-oriented educational institutions in Azerbaijan in accordance with innovative approaches. Work is being continued towards the creation of 5 more STEAM educational centers.
Replacing individual achievements with social achievements
Development characteristics of education are determined not by the training rate of individuals, but rather by the average educational indicators of the society. Implementation of a healthy and successful development strategy, ensuring the sustainability of the achieved accomplishments presupposes the creation of a more educated society.
In this regard, raising the development level of education in the rural regions and creating a new educational infrastructure is a factor that will extremely affect the development of the secondary education of the society. With the “modular school” concept, which can be adapted to any rural region, the creation of educational infrastructure according to the demand in remote regions and villages is being implemented. As a result, everyone gets the opportunity to study wherever they are.
The work performed particularly in recent years in this field and the obtained preliminary results show that there will be greater success in the near future.
Ilham Nagiyev is an economist and entrepreneur in Azerbaijan.