More than 100 people had gathered in the UNEC’s beautiful assembly hall for the opening of our conference on ‘Enhancing the Quality of Higher Education in Azerbaijan’. The Vice Minister Jeyhun Bahramov took the floor and declared the conference open. The UNEC (Azerbaijan State Economic University), one of most distinguished universities in Azerbaijan, as an active participant in our project as well as a pilot university testing the AzSG, provided an excellent venue for conference. The EU Ambassador Malena Mård and the Estonian Ambassador Indrek Kiverik praised our project, before the project leaders took the floor. It was the biggest event in our project, the last before the closing conference on 29th of August.
The purpose of the conference was to share experiences and outcomes with Azerbaijani universities before summer holidays. The project is a success story with all the key results achieved. These concerned catching up the European standards in the quality assurance of higher education; supporting the implementation of AzQF (Azerbaijani Qualification Framework), strengthening cooperation and networking between the universities and developing higher education legal framework as an instrument of enhancing quality. Over 600 university and Ministry experts have been trained in the project and the most active have achieved considerable expertise in higher education quality evaluation.
Much has happened in Azerbaijani higher education, too. The Ministry has established the ANO (Accreditation and Nostrification Office) to improve accreditation rules and practices as well as recognition of foreign diplomas. The AzQF is still in the review of the Cabinet of Ministers, but its implementation has started. The blueprint of establishing the Rectors’ Conference has been prepared. The draft Standards of Higher Education and the draft statutes of Higher Education Institutions carry essential elements of European standards. However, it would be arrogant to assume that all is due to our project. We have given our contribution and humbly wish that it will bear fruit.