6 Achieve universal primary education
Where are we?
Azerbaijan has achieved near-universal primary and secondary education, and enrolment rates are fairly equitable between poor and non-poor children. But at the two ends of the formal education spectrum, at pre-primary and university levels, it has fallen behind the upper middle-income (UMI) averages.
In terms of the quality of education provided, there are two things to highlight: first, the average performance of Azerbaijani students in mathematics equals that of much richer countries and, second, there is little difference between children from rich and poor households in their performance on standardized tests, especially in mathematics. Azerbaijan may be among a handful of countries in the world that can boast of such an achievement.
However, the education system faces several challenges that need to be addressed for the system to adequately support a growing market economy. The education system does not appear to provide adequate environment for high quality teaching and learning, as demonstrated by low reading scores on international tests. As many as 79.4 percent of Azerbaijan’s 15 year olds have not attained even a minimum mastery of reading, raising serious concerns about their preparedness for onward studies.
Higher education enrolment rates are low, and large disparities exist between the poor and the non-poor. Further, there is a sizable mismatch between the training provided by the education system and the skills demanded by a dynamic and growing economy.
The government is aware of these challenges and has initiated a number of reforms. To strengthen the education system, the government of Azerbaijan is taking several measures, including the provision of pupils with free textbooks; construction of more public schools and rehabilitation of existing schools and their provision with modern educational equipment; upgrade of educational system with information technology; programme targeted at youth with special talents; programme for youth education abroad and programme to revive preschool education.
Comparing tertiary school enrolment
Targets for MDG2
- Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling
- Net enrolment ratio in primary education
- Proportion of pupils starting grade 1 who reach last grade of primary
- Literacy rate of 15-24 year-olds, women and men