What innovations does the draft law on higher education envisage?

Baku/19.01.22/Turan: A law on higher education will be adopted in Azerbaijan. The corresponding draft law will be submitted for discussion in parliament in the coming days. This will be the first law on higher education in Azerbaijan. Currently, the general law “On Education”, adopted in 2009, is in force.

Jeyhun Mammadov, a member of the parliamentary committee on science and education, explained to Turan that the need to adopt a law on higher education aims to improve the quality of university education. The draft law was prepared by a working group established in this parliamentary committee. The document clarifies the concept of "higher education", defines the terms associated with it.

One of the important innovations may be the reduction of the term of study in the bachelor's degree from 4 to 3 years, in the master's program from two to one year. If this option is accepted, the transition to the new system will be gradual.

The draft law will also reflect the issue of distance higher education, which exists in many countries. The law will also provide for the expansion of research activities of universities.

It also provides for the creation of social hostels. “For many years, students in Azerbaijan have experienced problems with hostels. Therefore, it is envisaged that the condition for the creation of a new university should be the creation of dormitories by it. In addition, the issue of creating state social dormitories to provide students in need with housing is envisaged,” Mammadov said.

Education expert Kamran Asadov agrees with the need for a separate law on higher education. “Currently, issues related to higher education are regulated by the Law on Education and decisions of the Cabinet of Ministers. Therefore, disputes arise around some issues,” Asadov said.

Despite the shortcomings in general, the bill solves many issues. In particular, the document reflects the issues of autonomy of higher educational institutions, their management, and the appointment of rectors. The expert believes that the law should also reflect the issues of international cooperation of universities, and the independence of universities in the rules for enrolling students.

Farid Imanov, head of the Center for Student Power public association, believes that the draft law on higher education is as "manipulative as any other law." “It is known that there are fundamental problems in Azerbaijani education, in the solution of which the Ministry of Education is not interested. To manipulate these problems, new laws "according to international standards" are being invented, Imanov said.

He does not expect improvement in the quality of education, the management of educational institutions, and the conformity of diplomas to international standards. “If the state and the Ministry of Education want to meet world standards, then they should go to the election of rectors by students,” Imanov said.

He believes that higher education should be accessible to all students. In Azerbaijan, in 80% of cases, students with financial capabilities have access to university education.

“If at state universities, education is not free, and it is not provided, then this is just manipulation,” Imanov said. —21B06-



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