Speech by Ilham Aliyev at the secondary school No 28 in Mashtagha - (+VIDEO)

Speech by Ilham Aliyev at the secondary school No 28 in Mashtagha (+VIDEO)

Good morning, my warm greetings to all of you and congratulations on the new school year. On the eve of the new school year, we are gathered in Savalan settlement of Mashtaga for the opening of a new school. I sincerely congratulate you on this remarkable occasion.

This school has been built at the request of residents. I am told that there was no school in this residential area. So both children and parents experienced great inconveniences. An instruction was issued and such a fine school was built here in a short time. All the conditions for studying and working are available in the school for 960 pupils. There is a vast territory here. There is a large playground. So the work has been done at the highest level. I believe that this remarkable initiative shows again that great importance is being attached to education in Azerbaijan.

Of course, wherever there is a need for the construction of a school, we undertake to build it, and this has been the case here. I want to say that 19 schools have been built and renovated in Baku this year. It would be safe to say that most schools in the city of Baku are already in good condition. There are still schools in need of repair, and we will renovate them in the coming years. This year, more than 200 schools have been built and renovated in our country. A total of 137 schools of a modular type have been built in remote or small villages. Schools in these villages were in emergency condition. I do hope that the program on the removal of schools in emergency condition and construction of new schools instead of them is completed next year. Thus, the school fund in Azerbaijan will meet the most modern standards. I also want the public to know that more than 3,000 schools have been built and renovated in Azerbaijan in the past 15 years. This is a huge contribution to the sphere of education.

Children should do well at school. If such wonderful conditions are available, the quality of education must be high. The school is also a workplace for teachers. Their conditions are improving. An increasing number of people want to become teachers. Respect for the teaching profession is growing, and this is very delightful because teachers play the leading role in the education of children and young people alongside parents.

I want to bring to your attention another issue. I have been informed that more than 2,000 students who scored more than 500 points in admission tests this year chose the profession of a teacher. This is a clear example of interest in this profession. Let me say for comparison that only one of the applicants who scored more than 500 points in 2016 chose the profession of a teacher. Today there are 2,000 people. This, in the first place, testifies to the modernization of the school fund, excellent conditions in most schools and solution of day-to-day problems of teachers. In recent years, teachers' salaries have significantly increased. Traditional respect for teachers in society is being restored. This is very reassuring. Therefore, work on addressing teachers’ problems will be carried out in the future too. The drastic reforms carried out in the field of education are bearing fruit and the quality of education rises. We see this through various indicators, and I hope that this successful process continues in the future.

In the meantime, children should do well at school in order to secure a worthy place in society in the future and, first of all, become literate and knowledgeable. The level of overall literacy in Azerbaijan is close to 100 per cent. This is an excellent indicator. Literacy, knowledge and technologies are crucial in the present-day world. Look at the situation in developed countries. These include only high-technology states. Natural resources, oil and gas – these are just means. The key drivers of a country’s development are literacy, knowledge, technologies and innovations. Therefore, young people in Azerbaijan should have in-depth knowledge and be literate. Modern technologies in Azerbaijan receive tremendous support – this is a state policy. Without the development of information and communication technologies, modern societies cannot function successfully. Therefore, children should first be interested in doing well at school and building a good life for themselves, as well as contributing to the development of our country. Of course, both teachers and parents seriously deal with the education of young people, and I welcome this. Azerbaijani youth is patriotic, and it should continue to be educated in the spirit of patriotism, in the national spirit.

As you know, the role and importance of our country in the world are increasing these days. Not a single project can be implemented in the region without the participation of Azerbaijan. A lot in our region depends on our policy and decisions. Of course, given this factor, there are many external forces interested in influencing Azerbaijan. The people of Azerbaijan know this. However, our firm political will prevents them from involving Azerbaijan in some adventures or initiatives that do not meet our national interests because we have a strong political will and economic potential. We are pursuing an independent policy and do not depend on anyone. I believe that one of the main results of my work as President is that Azerbaijan conducts an absolutely independent policy today, a policy based on national interests and traditional values. We need to make sure that the future generation sees its future in this direction. First and foremost, the future generation should also be patriotic, be raised in the national spirit, be attached to the Motherland, adhere to our ancient traditions, be knowledgeable and literate. Under such circumstances, our country will have a bright future. Under such circumstances, Azerbaijan will always pursue an independent policy because our policy is reflected in life. Just have a look: bloody clashes, wars, social and economic crises and revolutions are widespread in different parts of the world. Sources of threat are gradually increasing. There are more and more disturbing issues. But Azerbaijan is a place of stability. People in Azerbaijan live in peace, security and calm. Social and economic issues are being resolved in Azerbaijan. Notice how large investments are being made in our country. If we take the sphere of education alone, the construction of 3,000 schools requires major financial resources. Roads, water communications, electricity lines, gasification, our military power, energy and transport projects. We have done all this at our own expense. Azerbaijan today is one of the countries that stand out in the world, especially in our region. Peace and calm, development and social welfare are provided and will continue to be provided in Azerbaijan because there are no concerns or doubts about our future. So we will continue to follow the path of development.

To ensure this, first of all, we need to be even stronger. I want to say again that no-one can influence our policy. The situation of the last 15 years has repeatedly confirmed this. You, young people, will manage Azerbaijan in the future. The fate of our country and people will depend on you. Therefore, you always need to know that national interests, the happiness of the Motherland and an independent policy are above everything. Of course, parents, teachers and society as a whole do and will continue to play a role in this. This wonderful school has all the conditions for proper education.

I congratulate you on this wonderful event again and wish you success. Thank you. 

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