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In Azerbaijan, education is free and students must attend from the ages of six to fifteen. As in most countries, the state sets the minimum standards for education.

There are three levels of public education in Azerbaijan: primary education, general secondary education, and full secondary education. Primary education begins with one year of preschool education, in which students are expected to develop comprehension skills and a taste for learning. Some children learn to read and write during this period, as well. Students begin primary school at the age of six, and there are four years of primary education, after which students will have to pass an examination in order to continue to general secondary education. Although most students attend public primary schools, there are private school options as well.

General secondary education is the equivalent of middle school in the United States and some other Western countries. Consisting of grades five through nine, general secondary school is free for public school students, and offers continued education in arts and culture, languages, literature, mathematics, science, and sports. In order to continue to full secondary education, an examination must be satisfactorily completed.

Also free for public school students, full secondary education consists of grades ten and eleven. During these years, students are expected to decide on a future profession and to prepare for entrance examinations that are held each summer. Students in full secondary education are vulnerable due to the stress associated with entrance exams, given that scholarships for higher education are limited to those who perform the highest on the exams.

There is a fee for the entrance exam, in which students must answer twenty-five questions from each subject mandated by the employment path they have chosen, with five subjects for each profession group. Those who complete the exam with the highest scores are exempted from higher education tuition.

Students who complete their education, satisfactorily passing the examinations, receive a state document that certifies their profession and degree. This document is the basis for beginning work or moving on to the next step in the educational process. These may be certificate scholarships, diplomas, professional master diplomas, bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, and doctoral diplomas.

Public schools offer eleven years of education that includes primary, general secondary, and full secondary education, which most student complete at the age of seventeen or eighteen. Tuition and textbooks are provided free of charge. Generally, the language of instruction is Azerbaijani, but some public schools offer instruction in Russian.

Although there are sometimes private scholarships available, the government does not pay tuition for students attending private schools in Azerbaijani. There are several private school available within the country, attended by the children of diplomats or expatriates from other countries, and by local children whose parents opt for enroll their children in private school. Turkish lyceums are the most common private schools in Azerbaijan, but there are also international schools using curricula from several other countries, as well as the international baccalaureate program. Commonly, these schools will follow a curriculum from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Australia, or New Zealand. Primary education may be in any language, but is commonly taught in English, French, Spanish, German, or Japanese. Admission and enrollment policies differ from school to school, but tuition tends to be expensive.

Vocational schools last three or four years, depending on the program, and students who opt to attend these programs may begin in the ninth, tenth, or eleventh grades. These schools focus on teaching occupational skills. Several vocational institutions train technicians for work in Azerbaijan's oil industries.

There are between thirty and forty state-operated or private universities in Azerbaijan, and a relatively high percentage of Azerbaijanis move on from secondary to higher education, particularly in scientific and technical subjects.

Higher education institutions in Azerbaijan include Azerbaijan State Oil Academy, Baku Engineering University, Baku State University, Khazar University, and others. The largest and oldest institution of higher learning in Azerbaijan is Baku State University, which was established in 1919.



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