Turkish minister of education: Schools applying experience of Turkish vocational education will be opened in Azerbaijan – INTERVIEW


The relations between Türkiye and Azerbaijan are developing on a rising line and expanding day by day. This development manifests itself in political, economic, military, cultural, and other fields, as well as in science and education. Ankara and Baku have achieved close cooperation in this direction. For this, a number of documents have been signed between the two countries.

The Minister of Education of Türkiye, Professor Yusuf Tekin, spoke about the current state of cooperation with Azerbaijan in the field of education and future development prospects in an interview with Report's Ankara bureau.

- How do you evaluate relations between Türkiye and Azerbaijan in the field of education?

- The two countries are developing bilateral cooperation shoulder to shoulder with the principle of one nation, two states. There is a deep-rooted bond of love between brother Azerbaijan and us based on our common history and spirit.

After regaining its independence in 1991, the Republic of Türkiye was the first state to recognize Azerbaijan, which is essentially the result of our brotherhood. Türkiye has provided all kind of support to Azerbaijan since the first days of its independence and will continue to do so in the future. Our unity, equality, and solidarity between Türkiye and Azerbaijan is eternal.

The ministries of education of our countries are also official institutions responsible for raising future generations based on sound foundations. I believe that one of our main tasks as educational establishments is to convey the unity and solidarity of the two brotherly countries to future generations.

Also, I know that the approach and activities of the Ministry of Science and Education of Azerbaijan are also within this framework. In addition, this is what the presidents of both countries - Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Ilham Aliyev, as well as the citizens of our countries, expect from us. As ministers, our duty is to justify this trust and meet expectations.

- What is the basis of the relations between the Ministry of Education of Türkiye and the relevant ministry of Azerbaijan, and what steps should be taken for its development?

- The basis of educational ties between the two countries is our educational institutions in Azerbaijan, our mutual scholarship programs, our students going to your country for higher education, Azerbaijani students studying in Türkiye, as well as professors and teachers working in different universities in Azerbaijan.

By strengthening educational ties between our countries and developing our existing cooperation, we can leave the most important legacy to our youth for our future. In this framework, as in every field, our relations in the field of education continue to advance with principles based on cooperation and solidarity. Our relevant relations with Baku are always under our attention through our education consultancy in Azerbaijan.

About 3,000 students continue their education in our kindergarten, elementary, middle school and high school levels under our ministry in Baku. About 100 teachers sent by the Ministry of Education of Türkiye work in Turkish schools. In addition, assistant teachers were assigned to those educational institutions.

Within the framework of the experience of the international "Brother School" project implemented with the support of the ministries of education of Azerbaijan and Türkiye, fraternal relations were established between 30 corresponding schools of the two countries.

These schools play an important role in terms of cooperation between our educational institutions, exchange of experience and promotion of our cultures. For example, 27 Azerbaijani students receive education free of charge in our International Anatolian Imam Hatip high schools.

- How many Azerbaijani students are there in Turkish universities? When can Türkiye-Azerbaijan University start its activities?

- About 35,000 Azerbaijani students continue their education in the universities of our country, 604 of whom are scholarship recipients of Türkiye's scholarship program. In Azerbaijan, 7 of our students are receiving education in doctoral degree.

During the official visit of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Baku in June of last year, the establishment of a joint university between Türkiye and Azerbaijan was also on the agenda in his meetings with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. With this, our young people from both countries will have the opportunity to study both in Türkiye and Azerbaijan.

We have schools named after the Great Leader Heydar Aliyev under our ministry in Ankara, Adana, Gaziantep, Igdir, Izmir, and Kars, which we see as a sincere symbol of Azerbaijan-Türkiye fraternal relations. We continue to keep alive the name of the late Heydar Aliyev, whom we remember with respect for his services to the Azerbaijani people and Turkish-Azerbaijani friendship.

Türkiye has achieved great changes in the field of education, especially in the last twenty years. We are very happy to share this experience with brother Azerbaijan. I believe that we will continue this in a wider framework.

We also attach great importance to cultural activities among our children in order to pass on our present friendship to new generations. Last year, a composition and drawing competition called "One nation, two states: Türkiye-Azerbaijan brotherhood" was organized by our ministry and the embassy of Azerbaijan in Ankara between our schools. Many such projects are implemented in the field of education in Ankara.

Our schools under the Turkish Education Foundation continue their activities in Azerbaijan. These schools also serve as important investments in the human resources of the country in which they are located. The schools of our foundation in Azerbaijan, of which I am one of the founders, are not only an important foundation for the bridge of brotherhood between our countries but also a strategic investment in the future for the development and strengthening of this brotherhood. In this sense, Türkiye shares its experience in the field of education with brotherly and friendly countries.

The cooperation protocol in the field of vocational education between Türkiye and Azerbaijan was signed by the ministers of education of the two countries at the meeting of the Joint Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation. Within the framework of the protocol, it is planned to open two educational institutions in Baku and Gabala. According to the protocol, training will be conducted in these educational institutions in five directions (information technologies, guest houses and travel services, furniture and interior design, fashion design technologies, food and beverage services). The mutual regulation of the activities of our vocational education institutions with Azerbaijan will be settled through consultations and negotiations.

You will confirm that there are neither words nor time to describe the deep-rooted friendship between Azerbaijan and us. As before, we will continue to move forward shoulder to shoulder as two brotherly countries.

- In November last year, you had an inter-delegation meeting with the Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Türkiye, Rashad Mammadov. After that meeting, it was announced that the meeting centered on issues related to multifaceted educational relations between Azerbaijan and Türkiye. What are the main directions here?

- Yes, as you said, on November 27, we had a meeting with Ambassador Rashad Mammadov and the embassy staff. As I mentioned earlier, we held consultations regarding our educational relations. We discussed the "Regulation of Türkiye-Azerbaijan Vocational Education Institution", which is being negotiated and will be finalized soon. We want the regulation to be finalized as soon as possible.

- Do you have plans to visit Azerbaijan anytime soon?

- We plan to visit Azerbaijan on January 30-31, 2024. During the trip, we will have various contacts in the field of education, we will visit schools and meet with teachers.