Although the Azerbaijani social enterprise ecosystem is at a preliminary stage, it has several

promising characteristics and already existing passionate social entrepreneurs and ecosystem

supporters. As a matter of fact, there are already several existing social enterprises with a growing

awareness of the potential of social enterprise as a means to create impact as a tool to address

social and environmental challenges in an entrepreneurial and economically sustainable manner.

Nonetheless, the existing legislation and policy framework are still not supportive of the

development of the Social Entrepreneurship sector. Furthermore, only limited financial and

technical support is currently available for aspiring social entrepreneurs in the country. The lack

of local networks and the still limited research on the topic further restrict the visibility and

general understanding of social entrepreneurship initiatives, while difficult access to funding

opportunities makes it difficult for social enterprises to scale up.

The development of a legal framework for social enterprises in Azerbaijan, is in the early

development stage. In 2018, the new Law on Employment introduced a social enterprise

definition as “a specialized legal entity established to ensure employment of persons who have a

particular need in social protection and have difficulty getting jobs.”

Still the country has inspirational social entrepreneurship and currently operates under several

legal forms. These formal structures can be NGOs, Cooperatives, Family farm associations,

Individual entrepreneurs, Companies, even Public legal entities.

Overview of Education and VET System

According to the Law on Education (2009), the education system has the following levels: pre-

school education; general education, including primary, general secondary and complete

secondary education; vocational education, including primary vocational, technical vocational

and higher technical education; and specialized secondary and higher education, including

bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

Structure:

Pre-school Education: Optional education for children aged 3-6.

Primary Education: Compulsory education from ages 6 to 11, consisting of grades 1-5.

Secondary Education: Compulsory education from ages 12 to 17, consisting of grades 6-11.

Higher Education: Tertiary education offered at universities and specialized higher education

institutions.

➢ Basic Education:

Primary and secondary education in Azerbaijan aims to provide a comprehensive curriculum

covering various subjects, including mathematics, sciences, social studies, Azerbaijani language

and literature, foreign languages (usually English or Russian), arts, physical education, and more.

The curriculum aims to develop students’ knowledge, skills, critical thinking abilities, and prepare

them for higher education or the workforce.

➢ Higher Education:

Universities in Azerbaijan offer bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs across various

fields of study. Admission to higher education institutions is generally based on the results of the

nationwide entrance exams.

Azerbaijani universities are working towards aligning their education system with international

standards and enhancing the quality of education.

Some universities offer programs in English, attracting international students from neighboring

countries and beyond.

➢ Vocational Education:

Azerbaijan also emphasizes vocational education and training (VET) to develop a skilled

workforce. VET institutions provide practical training and education in specific trades and

professions to meet the demands of various industries.

The government aims to enhance vocational education and cooperation between educational

institutions and businesses to address the country’s workforce needs.

The law “On Vocational Education” defines the structure of the vocational education system in

Azerbaijan, the types of vocational education institutions and the duration of education.

Levels of vocational education:

1. Primary vocational education – provides theoretical and methodical training for performing

simple tasks in the field of various occupational directions;

2. Technical vocational education – provides theoretical, methodical and practical training for

performing simple, special and complex tasks in the specific field of various occupational

directions;

3. Higher technical vocational education – provides high theoretical, methodical and practical

training that allows to independently perform simple, special and complex tasks, including

planning, organization and management of work to be carried out in a specific field of various

professional directions.

Types of vocational institutions:

➢ Vocational school

➢ Vocational lyceum

➢ Vocational training center

Graduates of the formal vocational education institutions are awarded a state document/diploma

with indicating the qualification level corresponding to each level of vocational education:

1. diploma (ordinary);

2. diploma (with distinction);

3. certificate (upon completion of short-term courses)

• Persons who have completed full secondary education in parallel with vocational

education are awarded a diploma and a certificate of secondary education in accordance

with the Law on Education.

Vocational education institutions in Azerbaijan provide vocational education and training in the

following directions:

• Economy, service, automation and management

• Agriculture, fisheries and forestry

• Power engineering, electrical engineering, device manufacturing and optical engineering,

radio engineering, communication and information technologies

• Metallurgy, machine-building and metal processing

• Aviation, space rocket, marine equipment and vehicles

• Chemical and biochemical technology

• Primary demand goods and food Technology

• Construction and architecture

The data of the State Statistical Committee for 2022 reported that the number of vocational

institutions is 99, and the total number of students enrolled in VET for 2022 is reported 22749

people. 93 of total vocational institutions subordinated to the Vocational Education Agency under

of the Ministry of Education, 1 school to the State Tourism Agency and the Ministry of Economy,

4 vocational training centers (located in Baku, Ganja, Nakhchivan and Goychay) subordinated to

the State Employment Center under the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, and there is 1

private vocational training center in the country.

According to the State Agency for Vocational Education, new vocational education institutions will

be established in Jalilabad, Lankaran and Sumgait cities by the next year. In general, it has been

planned to open 8 new vocational education institutions by 2026.

As the officials said, by comparison with 2022, the state-ordered general admission plan has been

increased by 10 percent in 2023. Additional 5 new specialties have been included in vocational

education program, where 2 of them are high-technical, and 3 are technical vocational

qualifications. By the end of 2026, the number of people involved in vocational education is

expected to increase to 11 thousand that means 50% increase. In general, 15 new specialties are

planned to be included in vocational education program every year.

VET Institutions’ situation analysis focusing on the engineering sector

Azerbaijan has the largest economy in the Caucasus with abundant natural resources. Energy

resources, favorable climatic conditions for agricultural expansion, and convenient logistics are

the foundations for the country’s rapid economic progress. According to data provided by the

Statistical Committee of the Azerbaijan Republic and the Vocational Education Agency under of

the Ministry of Education, the total number of vocational institutions functioning and accredited

by the different public organizations 100. 97 of them are functioned under of the Ministry of

Education, 1 private vocational training center, 1 school under of the State Tourism Agency and

under of the Ministry of Economy. In parallel with it, there are several raining centers that function

under the State Employment Center of the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, which are

mainly considered short-term courses for adult people. Currently the total number of students

studied in 2020-2021 academic year in VET is 22749.

At the same time, some public organizations, like SOCAR, Azerishiq, Azersu, Bakumetro, Sumgayit

Chemical Park and other state-owned and private enterprises provide informal vocation

education mainly for their employees. The graduates upon completion of a course receive a

certificate by the provider company.

According to the Strategic Road Map, it was considered necessary to organize 10 differently

specialized pilot vocational educational schools, optimize the structure, and improve the technical

provision and infrastructure of the existing institutions. Following it, the Korean Exim Bank

supported VET center in Baku has new infrastructure and equipment, boarding facilities, and

teachers recruited and paid for under the new scheme but is not yet fully operational. This center

has excellent facilities and can provide AzNQF Level 4–5 programs. The programs include

engineering and automotive, automation and electronics, and construction. Gabala VET Center,

through support from the EU, has new infrastructure and boarding facilities but does not have

sufficient modern equipment for advanced level programs. It mainly offers Level 1–3 programs

with a few Levels 4 programs. Programs include agriculture and tourism. Ganja VET Center was

also supported by the EU and received some refurbishment and equipment to provide VET

programs for Levels 1–3. Programs include mining, services and communications, ICT, and

automation. Jalalabad VET center received a few new workshops and some equipment from EU

support and can mostly offer VET programs for Levels 1–3 with a few Levels 4 programs. A new

boarding facility is also being constructed. Programs include agriculture, welding, furniture, and

services. The mission team was advised that two more VET centers are under construction and

five are at the planning stage.

The Azerbaijani President attended the opening ceremony of the fully refurbished Barda

Vocational Lyceum in 2021. In the same year, renovation work on three additional vocational

schools—Jalilabad Vocational Lyceum, Lankaran Vocational Lyceum, and Baku State Vocational

Center of Technic and Technology—began. The process was continued in 2022, and it is expected

that the renovation process will be completed this year.

Parallel to that, the optimization process began, and over the past five years, 25 or so vocational

training centers established based on various vocational schools. The management consolidation

of institutions of a similar type and the optimization of expenditures were two of the key tenets

of the optimization. It is anticipated that vocational centers with the necessary technological

resources, management strategies, and facilities will manage the subsequent stages more

successfully.

Legislation and Reforms

According to the Education Law, which was approved in 2009, primary vocational-professional

education is carried out in order to train professional labour force in various vocations and

popular professions based on the basis of general secondary education, in compliance with the

labour market demands. Primary vocational education could be provided in professional-

vocational educational institutions and various organizations, institutions, labour exchange,

employment offices, and the educational units of other respective institutions, and concludes

with issuance of a primary professional degree to the graduates in respective areas. Primary

vocational-professional education is implemented based on the respective educational programs

(Article 20).

The main legislation on Vocational education:

1. Education Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan

2. Vocational Education Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan

3. Labour Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan Republic

4. National Strategy for the development of education in the Republic of Azerbaijan

5. Strategic Roadmap for VET in Azerbaijan Republic

6. The Employment Strategy of the Republic of Azerbaijan for 2019-2030

7. Procedure for obtaining of relevant qualification to persons trained in content, organization

and any aspect of continuing education

Vocational Education Law was approved by the President of Azerbaijan Republic Ilham Aliyev in

2018, 24 April and reflected the main directions and principles of the state policy in this sphere.

The main principles of the state management in this field is to create equal opportunities in the

field of vocational education, organization of vocational education based on purposeful

integration of local and international education system, provision of voluntariness and

accessibility of vocational training and etc.

According to the VET Law, the following levels of the vocational education has been adopted:

➢ Primary vocational education

➢ Technical vocational education

➢ Higher technical vocational education

The following institutions were identified for the vocational education system:

➢ Vocational school

➢ Vocational lyceum

➢ Vocational training center

The new VET Law also allows students to obtain not only technical vocational and secondary

education in vocational institutions, but also a sub-bachelor degree after graduation from the

higher technical vocational education level, which is a new approach in system management. This

strategy necessitates additional work and investment in transforming existing technical vocational

schools into higher vocational centers, and the change should be coordinated not just with facility

development but also with suitable content and human resources. However, if the agency is able

to increase the number of such institutions in the future while adhering to the applicable

requirements at the moment, the system’s attractiveness will increase. It will be especially

beneficial to build such institutions in the domains of manufacturing, engineering, information

technology, and technology.

Graduates of the formal vocational education institutions according to the VET Law are provided

with the following types of diplomas, with indication of the degree of qualification that

corresponding to each level of vocational education:

1. Diploma

2. Diploma with distinction (with excellence)

3. Certificate upon completion of short-term courses (less than 6 months)

National Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning in the Republic of Azerbaijan (hereupon

AzNQF) has been developed in conjunction with criteria of the Framework for Qualifications of

the European Higher Education Area and the European Qualifications Framework for lifelong

learning DIAGRAM 1 8 (EQF) and adopted with the Decree of Cabinet of Ministers dated July 18,

2018. AzNQF levels 2 to 5 is taught in VET institutions.

The “National Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Education of the Republic of Azerbaijan” was

approved in July 18, 2018. It is a framework document that defines knowledge, skills and

competences of learners at all stages and levels. It systematizes qualifications within the country

in accordance with international practice, facilitates international mobility and the recognition of

national qualifications abroad, strengthens the linkage between the labor market and the

education system, and promotes the creation of a system for recognition of skills acquired

through non-formal and informal education.

By the Decree of the Azerbaijan President dated 14 July, 2021, the Education Development Fund

was established under the Ministry of Education in order to finance programs and projects aiming

at developing the education system.

In February 2019 the Cabinet of Ministers approved a new statute on VET institutions that

transforms vocational institutions into public legal entities.

At present, 7 vocational education centers operate as a public legal entity. This status allows

vocational schools to expand cooperation with private companies, to engage in entrepreneurial

activities and generate extra-budgetary income.

In August 2020 the government approved regulations on examination and certification that

confirm the professional qualification of citizens based on an assessment and recognition of

knowledge, skills and competence acquired through non-formal and informal vocational

education.

Qualifications and up to date skills of the citizens are becoming crucial in Azerbaijan’s economic

transformation agenda. Over the last decade, the Government of Azerbaijan has developed and

enacted policies and laws to improve the performance of the VET systems, implemented a wide

range of activities to address the challenges in this field.

Nevertheless, certain problems remain. The country still faces many challenges in terms of

management, financial support, staff development, content of education, material and technical

base and infrastructure.

An overview of Engineering VET Curricula in AZERBAIJAN

According to the relevant legislation of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the educational

program/curriculum is a document that comprises learning outcomes and content standards,

educational modules (subjects), educational plans, the organization of the pedagogical process,

the system of the assessment and monitoring of learning outcomes.

Education process in engineering VET schools is conducted on the basis of the curriculum

approved by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2020.

Engineering VET curriculum begins with a description of: 1) code of specialization, 2) code in

employment classification, 3) level of national qualifications, 4) level of vocational education, 5)

specialization group, 6) fields of specialization, for example, power engineering, electrical

engineering etc. 7) admission requirements (at least general secondary education), 8) duration of

study (1 year for students with completed full secondary education grade, 2 years for students

with completed general secondary education grade), 9) attestation process, 10) organization of

education on general education subjects (carried out in accordance with the norms of the

organization of education at the full secondary education level).

The next section describes the profession’s description, characteristics and development

prospects.

The “Employment opportunities” section provides the graduate’s possible future job and career

opportunities.

The requirements to student’s competency level are stated in the Table, which describes the

knowledge, skills, independence and responsibility required for a specific profession.

The curriculum also sets up specific requirements as to execute work with optimal performance,

to make quick and correct decisions, ability to work under pressure etc.

The curriculum describes requirements to teaching staff, for example, engineering and

pedagogical staff must have a basic education (higher, secondary specialty) and at least 3 years of

professional experience in the relevant professional field, the ability to communicate with

students and colleagues etc.

An education plan included in the Curriculum specifies the list of modules/subjects, theoretical

topics for the specialization course and the number of hours allocated to each of them, the hours

allocated to practical learning and industrial training practice, consulting hours and, finally, the

compulsory maximum courseload for students.

Undoubtedly, the subjects/modules included in the Education Plan are different due to the

duration of the academic year and depending on the specialty. But the following modules are

included in all specialization courses:

➢ Personal development and career planning

➢ Professional ethics

➢ Entrepreneurship

➢ Information technologies

➢ Physical education

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