|The EFA 2000 Assessment: Country Reports|
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Survival rates shown in Figure 2.20 are consistent with earlier interpretations. In general, survival rates are high with 97.5% of girls and 98.6% of boys surviving to grade 4 in 1997. The survival rate of girls is greater than 100% in 1993 and is most likely due to the inflow of refugees and internally displaced persons.
In general, the internal efficiency of the four years of primary education is very high with low dropout and high survival rates demonstrated in the latest available data. The internal efficiency of the system has continued to be high throughout the 1990s, despite the inflow of refugees and internally displaced persons in the early 1990s and more recently from returning emigrants following the transition to a market economy and the collapse of the former Soviet Union.
Number of Teachers
The number of teachers is shown in Figure 2.21. The number of teachers employed by the Ministry of Education has increased steadily over the 1990s. Of interest is the significant jump in the number of teachers in urban areas that occurred from 1994 to 1995. This one-off increase reduced the difference between the number of urban and rural teachers, a difference that has remained steady through to 1998.
It is clear from Figure 2.22 that primary school teaching is a predominantly female occupation. The proportion of male teachers at primary school level has declined from 32% in 1990 to 21% in 1998. Of interest is the finding that the abnormal increase in the overall number of teachers from 1994 to 1995 is a combination of an increase in female teachers and a reduction in male teachers in 1994.
A similar pattern has occurred from 1997 to 1998 with an increase in the number of female teachers and a decrease in the number of male teachers. One implication of such a decline is the lack of role models for boys during their years in primary school since the very low proportion of male teachers makes it likely that there will be some schools with few if any male teachers.
Figure 2.23 demonstrates that these demographic changes among teachers occur differently across regions. In urban areas, the proportion of male teachers has declined from 10% in 1990 to 7% in 1998 while in rural areas; the proportion of male teachers has declined from 57% in 1990 to 38% in 1998. Thus, it would appear that primary school teaching is not as an "attractive" career for males as it is for females and that its attraction has declined significantly over the decade, particularly in rural areas. Azerbaijan has been fortunate that females who wish to pursue teaching as a career have taken up this shortfall.
There are many more male teachers in rural areas compared to urban areas even though the school-age population distribution is not that different (in 1998, the urban population of school age children was 51% of the total).
It can also be seen from Figure 2.23 that the decline in the number of male teachers from 1993 to 1994 is greater in rural areas (-32%) than in urban areas (-20%). In compensation, the number of female teachers increased by 6.5% in urban areas and by 22% in rural areas over the same period.
The most likely explanation for these demographic changes in the teaching force lies in the negative economic and social effects of the Armenian military aggression and the downturn in the economy. Figure 2.24 describes trend lines for male teachers and it can be seen that the situation in 1998 is very similar to what would have been expected from data in the early 1990s. It is clear, and not surprising, that both the Armenian military aggression and the economic crisis have had a considerable impact on education, not only on student enrolments but also on the demographic characteristics of the teaching workforce. Of most interest is the finding that that these changes have now worked their way through the system and the situation in 1998 might be considered the result of "natural trends". The one exception to this is the change in the number of male teachers in urban areas. Almost half (48.6%) of all male teachers in urban areas either retired or resigned from teaching in primary schools from 1997 to 1998.
There are cultural expectations in Azerbaijan that a male is head of the family and as such is expected to provide for the family. In rural areas, male teachers can supplement their teaching salary through farming activities in their free time, however, in urban areas, many males are forced to leave teaching to pursue other more highly paid careers. Among women, teaching is seen as a career that fits well with raising a family since a choice can be made between teaching a single (half day) or a double shift (full day).
Figure 2.25 shows that virtually all teachers have academic qualifications. Although there are two periods when the proportion declined somewhat (1991 in rural areas and 1996 in urban areas), the extent of the decline is so small (less than 0.5%) that less than 20 teachers were involved. In essence, it can be said that all teachers in Azerbaijan have academic qualifications.
Figure 2.26 describes the proportion of teachers who are certified to teach and it can be seen that significant changes have taken place over the 1990s, although there are essentially no gender differences.
It can be seen from Figure 2.26 that a significant decline in the number of qualified primary school teachers started in 1992 and reached a low point (92.7%) in 1996. This period coincides with the impact of the Armenian military aggression, the fall of the former Soviet Union and the advent of hyperinflation. Since 1996, the proportion of qualified primary school teachers has increased to almost 95%. This implies 1,920 unqualified primary school teachers out of a total workforce of 36,800 during 1998. On the trends seen in Figure 2.26, it would be expected that the proportion of qualified primary school teachers would continue to increase over the next few years.
Figure 2.27 describes the proportion of qualified teachers in rural and urban areas, separately for male and female teachers. It can be seen that similar trends occur for urban and rural areas.
Information concerning the relative levels of teacher salaries can be determined from data contained in the 1999 Statistical Yearbook of Azerbaijan. The statistical yearbook provides per capita GDP and average monthly wages or salaries for a number of different occupational categories, including education. From this data, salaries for different occupational categories can be compared by expressing each wage or salary as a multiple of per capita GDP.
Average monthly salaries of teachers, 1990-1998
Following the Armenian aggression on the one hand, and the economic crisis on the other, the advent of hyper inflation and the fall of the solvency of the newly introduced national currency (manat) in the early 1990's (1990-1994) complicated the interpretation of the changes in salaries in that period, therefore this issue is analyzed on the basis of the data for the late 1990's.
Figure 2.28a shows the average monthly salaries of teachers. It is clear from the data analysis of this figure that due to the measures taken to provide a political stability and economic development in the late 1990's, the prevention of further deepening of inflation has also had a considerable impact on the social status of teachers, and their average nominal salaries increased 9.4 times in manats and about 3 times in the US dollars in 1998 over 1994.
However, the analysis of the available data shows that the levels of education salaries have been lower compared to other occupational categories. These are clearly demonstrated in Figure 2.28b.
It can be seen from this figure that education salaries are very low compared to other selected occupational categories, being only a multiple of 0.8 of per capita GDP in 1998. Average salaries in the education sector fell to a multiple of only 0.4 of per capita GDP in 1995 and 1996 but have recovered since that period as a result of specific government policy. It should be remembered that the mid 1990s were characterized by economic difficulties brought about by hyperinflation and the collapse of the former Soviet Union.
Source: Statistical Yearbook of Azerbaijan, 1999
Figure 2.28b also indicates that education salaries continue to be low and lag well behind those in other sectors.
Pupil to Teacher Ratio
Figure 2.29 shows changes in the pupil-to-teacher ratio over the period 1990 to 1998. Overall, national pupil-to-teacher ratio has decreased from 19.8 in 1990 to 18.8 in 1998. As would be expected, pupil-to-teacher ratios are higher in urban than in rural areas, although the gap has steadily declined from 4.4 pupils per teacher in 1990 to 2.5 pupils per teacher in 1998. The inflow of IDPs/refugees in the early 1990s caused pupil-to-teacher ratios to increase slightly in 1994 and 1995 but since this time, there has been a steady decline in pupil-to-teacher ratios in both urban and rural areas.
The major issue concerning teachers is the recent high resignation rate among the relatively few male teachers who teach in urban areas. The overall small proportion of primary school teachers who are male may create a problem of an inadequate number of male role models. The proportion of male teachers in urban areas has been low throughout the decade; however, the resignation of almost half of these male teachers during 1997 must be cause for concern and needs to be addressed. This issue is most likely directly related to the low salaries that teachers receive and although the real level of salaries has increased over the second half of the 1990s, the rate of pay for teachers is still a problem, particularly in urban areas.
A second issue relates to the proportion of qualified teachers. This proportion has decreased over the earlier part of the 1990s although this decline was arrested in 1996 and the proportion has subsequently increased. The major challenge is to continue the improvement in the proportion of teachers who are certified to teach. The pupil-to-teacher ratio has gradually declined over the decade, although the ratio in urban schools continues to be greater than 20:1.
In Azerbaijan, mastery of basic learning competencies is equated with successful completion of grade 4 schooling. Figure 2.30 describes the proportion of students who successfully complete grade 4 compared to those who begin grade 4 over the period 1990 to 1998. The first feature of these data is that the proportion is relatively high (greater than 98%). The second major feature is the decline in the proportion of students mastering basic learning competencies that took place from 1996. This decline occurred for both boys and girls.
Figure 2.31 attempts to describe differences in the proportion of students who master basic learning competencies from urban and rural schools. Of interest is the finding that achievement of rural girls was below that of rural boys in the early 1990s but that this has reversed with rural girls performing consistently better than their male peers since 1996. In urban areas, boys and girls seem to perform at essentially the same level. During 1996 and 1997, rural students outperformed their urban peers but in 1998 both groups of girls performed equally well with rural boys being slightly lower. However, these differences are small. Both rural and urban groups show the same decline in performance from 1996 to 1998 although while there is an increase in the performance of urban groups from 1997 to 1998, rural groups show a further decline over the same period.
The major issue here is to determine the cause of the small but real decline that has taken place since 1996 in the proportion of students mastering basic learning competencies. In particular, this decline needs to be reversed in rural areas.
In discussions regarding the financing of education in Azerbaijan, it must be remembered that the national currency was introduced at the end of 1992 and it took until 1994 before the new national currency was stabilized. Thus, comparisons of financing including the years 1990 to 1993 are not meaningful. The amount of funding that has been provided to education has increased significantly over the period 1994 to 1998 and this is shown in Figure 3.1. This figure is intended only to demonstrate the trends involved in the amount of finance that is being directed to education overall and to general secondary education. The "amount" of funding has a different value since a currency is effected by inflation, and in the case of Azerbaijan by the effects of the fall of the former Soviet Union, establishment of a new national currency and other factors. Therefore, these figures do not indicate relative differences in the "real value" of financing of education.
Note: A period of hyperinflation in 1993 makes scaling difficult for this figure.
Figure 3.1 shows that during the period 1994 to 1998, expenditure on overall education increased more rapidly than expenditure on general secondary education.
Figure 3.2 describes the proportion of public current expenditure on general secondary education as a percentage of total public current expenditure on education. It can be seen that the proportion was 58.6% in 1994, then declined briefly before rising to a peak of 59.3% in 1997 before falling to 57.8% in 1998.
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