Skilled workers to be trained in regions

Skilled workers to be trained in regions

22 January 2016, 15:46 761
Ministry of Education is preparing programs on rationalization of specialized secondary and primary vocational educational institutions. Trend news agency reported it citing the head of Finance department at Ministry of Education, Rauf Orucov. According to the ministry official, the issue of rationalization of education centers was suggested at "Strategy for the Development of Education in the Republic of Azerbaijan": "We have done some work and created a group to work on rationalization of specialized secondary and primary vocational educational institutions. At the moment, certain proposals related to the rationalization are being prepared".  

R.Orujov added that, new proposals mainly focus on rationalization of specialized secondary and primary vocational educational institutions. In addition, in order to ensure the development of regions, profiling of those institutions will also be proposed. During profiling process, main criteria will be the development of regions and teaching professions that are in demand. There are, currently, 113 primary vocational and 61 specialized secondary education centers in Azerbaijan. 

But what results will rationalization yield? Will it lead to decrease in number of specialized secondary and primary vocational institutions? 

During his interview to our newspaper, the chairman of Education Council Ajdar Agayev stated that, the project is carried out in accordance with government program on socio-economic development of regions. He says the purpose of a vocational-technical school is to prepare a skilled and agile laborer. Vocational schools used to do this job but now their material-technical base is poor: "The old content does not meet the current standard. This is why, the Ministry of Education is starting this project; to help them optimize their work, be productive and contribute to socio-economic development".  

According to the official, regional vocational centers will be opened as part of rationalization process. The rationalization has its goals: "For instance, south region is favorable for cultivating subtropical fruits and tourism, north for horticulture, skiing, Mughan for cotton-growing and wheat production, mountainous areas for potato growing. Vocational schools should prepare skilled workers in those economic sectors. This is the reason for creating regional vocational centers". 
First of all, material-technical base should be strengthened to improve the effectiveness of vocational centers, according to him: "Secondly, the content should be clearly defined. It should be made according to the field it is supposed to serve. Thirdly, it is important to employ experts to train the students. These specialized experts will be trained at various relevant universities. The vocational schools that have proved to be ineffective and outdated will shut down. Their effectiveness will be determined by their productivity and contribution to development of agriculture". 

A.Agayev claims many of regional colleges fail to fulfill their obligation of initial employee training: "Material-technical base is poor, it cannot meet the modern standards. We intend to open regional colleges. These regional colleges will train better skilled workers with sub-bachelor degrees". Education expert assumes that those regional colleges will mainly train skilled workers in fields where there is shortage of workers in that region: "In some of our regions, there is a shortage of qualified medical staff. In such regions, the number of colleges training medical staff will be increased. Students will be able to major in fields such as agronomy, animal science, horticulture, pharmacology, wheat growing and vine growing. These specialized workers will know the scientific aspects of their profession. They will not only have executive function but will also be able to work as a mid-level manager. Thus, the demand for specialized workers will be met". 
He also added that, there will be certain colleges where knowledge of a foreign language will be a requirement: "For 

instance, in tourism relates profession, it is a requirement to speak a foreign language. They should at least speak two languages. This will help the exchange of experience with outside world, as well as establish international relations. So, the colleges will encourage students to learn a foreign language. Colleges will be profession-oriented. If the project is carried out properly, it will be effective in socio-economic development of the country".  

Another education expert Maharram Zulfugarli says better results are possible, if vocational schools, colleges and universities are like a complex: "There is a difference between education levels of a college and a vocational school. Unlike previous years, now there are colleges operating within universities. For example, Baku Tourism Vocational School operates under Tourism and Management University. After graduating from the college, students can get into universities whenever they want. This integration is important. But it shouldn't be in the form of a campaign. If it is organized in the model of developed countries, it would be effective. If they only do it for the sake of doing something new, and do not continue the work later, the results won't be good. But this integration should happen. If the vocational school, college and universities are like a complex,  it can help to prepare better skilled workers in the future". 

Aygun Asimgizi