The Ministry of Education the Republic of Azerbaijan organized together with the EU Twinning project the Closure Conference of the EHEA Twinning Project on 29 August 2017 at the Park Inn Hotel in Baku. It was the Closing Conference of the EU Twinning project ‘Support to the Ministry of Education of the republic of Azerbaijan for Further Adherence of the Higher Education System to the European Higher Education Area’. The purpose of the conference was to present and disseminate the outcomes of the Twinning project together with the new plans of the Ministry to enhance the quality of higher education and research.
The two-year EU Twinning project was due to focus on the development and implementation of quality assurance and a national framework in Azerbaijan following the principles and standards of the EHEA. The project is recommending improved coordination and networking in Azerbaijan higher education and necessary amendments in the legal regulations of higher education and accreditation. The major achievement of the project was to draft new accreditation and quality evaluation standards focused on enhancing the quality of higher education. The project tested the draft standards by making quality evaluations in three Azerbaijan pilot universities (Azerbaijan State Economic University, Azerbaijan State Pedagogical University and Azerbaijan Technical University). The pilot evaluations confirm that European standards and guidelines can be applied in Azerbaijan and that Azerbaijan evaluators can implement them when they are trained for it. Strengthening the capacity of the Ministry and the universities to make use of evaluations as an instrument of enhancing quality is the other main outcome of the project which trained more than over 600 Azerbaijan experts.
The Conference discussed on how the recommendations and conclusions of the project can be best used for further enhancement of Azerbaijan higher education. Major issues concern quality assurance, international mobility and cooperation as well as university autonomy and better regulation and mutual cooperation between all Azerbaijani higher education institutions.
The Conference was opened by Vice Minister Mr. Jeyhun Bahramov and Mr. Jeroen Willems, the Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation. The key note speakers of the conference included the Twinning project experts and the representatives of the pilot universities. The Conference was attended by over 80 participants.