The UK Education Tour (UKET) has arrived in Baku, the Caucasus’ largest and most cosmopolitan city.
Baku has undergone a transition in recent years, with a resurgence in oil and gas production driving the economy and providing funding for numerous state projects.
The Azeri government ‘Education Abroad Programme’, which began in 2007, sends young people from Azerbaijan to the world’s top universities, in order to obtain international education and training and therefore assist in the development of Azerbaijan.
Universities such as Nottingham, Kings College London, Durham, Essex, Sheffield, Kent, Sheffield Hallam, and City University met with the Azerbaijan Ministry of Higher Education on Thursday as part of the UKET itinerary, which also included a visit to Qafqaz University.
During the meeting with Mr. Ali-Pasha Zeynalova (Head of Department, Education Abroad and International students), UK Education Tour university delegates learned that the number of students graduating from and studying in the UK is growing, and the number of UK universities recognised for the programme is increasing.
Around 400 students are in the UK now, with 153 new UK enrollments in 2012 . The UK is the number 1 destination for Azeri government scholarship students, followed by Germany (144) and Turkey (130). In 2012 the number of universities recognised for the purposes of the programme increased from 40 to 48.
The Ministry scholarship fund, worth €20m in 2012, will rise by 70% in 2013 to €34m. UK universities expect once again to welcome the largest number of students. Students for Undergraduate programmes need either to complete a Foundation course, or transfer after 1 or 2 years of study in Azerbaijan. This is creating opportunities for Foundation providers and 2+2 programmes. Postgraduate students are also funded, with over 100 leaving Azerbaijan in 2012.
There are 2 large scholarship programmes in Azerbaijan: the second is run by the the state-owned oil and natural gas corporation of Azerbaijan, SOCAR. The list of UK universities recognised for the SOCAR programme is here.
The UKET visit to Baku will conclude with an Embassy Cocktail on Friday evening, with local politicians and university leaders in attendance, and an Exhibition on Saturday. Levant Education promotes UK education in Turkey, Iraq and Azerbaijan through missions, exhibitions and online marketing.