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Figure 3.2

After 1993, the level of expenditure for general secondary education has stabilised at a level that is expected to continue.

Figure 3.3 shows public current expenditure on general secondary education as a percent of GDP. It can be seen from this figure that funding levels have reduced since 1994. Since 1995, expenditure has remained at about 2% of GDP, compared to 2.7% in 1994 and 3% in 1990.

Figure 3.3

Figure 3.4 provides a measure of expenditure for general secondary education that can be used for comparisons with other countries. Since it is a measure of expenditure per pupil as a percent of per capita GDP, it is an indicator independent of currency exchanges, inflation and similar interfering variables. As is the case with many countries of the former Soviet Union, expenditure per pupil was relatively high before the collapse but has decreased since that time. In Azerbaijan, expenditure per pupil as a percent of per capita GDP has stabilized over the last part of the 1990’s at about 10%.

Figure 3.4

The major issue relates to identification and implementation of mechanisms whereby a higher level of financing can be introduced to primary education. Given that participation in primary education is relatively high, it is difficult to argue that primary education should have special priority over other sub-sectors, particularly in the current economic climate and the transition to the market economy.

Literacy

Since the State Statistics Committee data of the 1999 census is not yet analysed, it was not possible to analyse literacy levels of the population according to the age groups for the last 10 years on the basis of the 1989 census.

Monitoring of literacy is probably seen as a low priority given the very high levels of literacy that existed during the time when Azerbaijan gained independence. Figure 4.1 shows that adult literacy levels are very high, particularly among the 15 to 24-year age group. Of interest is the lower literacy rate among women in the 15+ years age group, although this figure is still in excess of 95%.

Figure 4.1

Figure 4.2 shows the differences in adult literacy of men and women across rural and urban areas. Although these figures are still high by international standards, the literacy rate of rural women aged more than 15 years of age is much lower than other groups.

Figure 4.2

Although data that are more recent are not available for literacy, the continuing high educational levels of people of Azerbaijan are reflected in the high educational attainment of the nation and this is shown in Figure 4.3.

Figure 4.3

Source: Statistical Yearbook of Azerbaijan, 1999

Figure 4.3 shows that almost 90% of the 15+ years population have received more than 4 years of primary education and about 40% have completed 11 years of secondary education. By international standards, these are high proportions of educational attainment.

The major issue for literacy is the lack of an appropriate and timely monitoring mechanism for tracking adult literacy rates. Such a mechanism would seem to be very important given the considerable dislocation and interruption to education that the military aggression and the economic crisis caused.

Major Findings and Conclusions

Early Childhood Education

The major issue facing early childhood development in Azerbaijan is to reverse the negative trend of provision and participation. Total enrolments and GER have both declined significantly over the period and in the latest data available (1998); there is little evidence that this decline is being challenged. Only among girls, has there been a reversal of the constant decline in enrolments and GER. Provision and participation in early childhood education in rural areas is particularly low (GER of less than 10%) compared to urban areas (GER of almost 25%). A further issue relates to gender parity. In all areas of the country, fewer girls than boys attend early childhood education programs and this disparity is particularly significant in urban areas.

It is clear that participation in early childhood development programs will not increase without additional funding, presumably from outside of the public sector. Private sector involvement in education in Azerbaijan is virtually unknown, a result of the philosophy inherited during the Soviet era. However, for early childhood development programs to be significantly expanded, the private sector will need to be involved. A top priority should be to develop a model of private sector involvement that is appropriate for Azerbaijan.

The efficiency of early childhood development programs has improved over the 1990 to 1998 period. The number of 7-year old children enrolled in programs has reduced from 7% to 1% although the number of 6-year olds continues at about 25% of all enrolments.

Primary Education

The major issue concerns identification of a mechanism to increase NERs for primary education. It is clear that the effects from the Armenia's aggression, the subsequent inflow of IDPs/refugees and the economic crisis have been major factors in hindering the enrolment of all primary school age children. It is likely that to achieve universal primary education, significant funding and innovative approaches will be required.

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 1990’s, despite the inflow of IDPs/refugees in the early 1990’s and more recently from returning emigrants following the transition to a market economy and the collapse of the former Soviet Union.

Teachers

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 1997-1998 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 1990’s, 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 1990’s 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.

Achievement Levels in Education

The major issue 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.

Financing Of Education

The major issue relates to identification and implementation of mechanisms whereby a higher level of financing can be introduced to primary education. Given that participation in primary education is relatively high, it is difficult to argue that primary education should have special priority over other sub-sectors, particularly in the current economic climate and the transition to the market economy.

Adult iteracy

The major issue for literacy is the lack of an appropriate and timely monitoring mechanism for tracking adult literacy rates. Such a mechanism would seem to be very important given the considerable dislocation and interruption to education that the military aggression and the economic crisis caused.


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