Azerbaijan is located in South Caucasus, between Europe and Asia. It was a part of the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) for a several decades. That’s why there are still schools/universities which share education in Russian language adapted to the program offered by the Ministry of Education. Due to the strong connections with Turkey, some schools are taught in Turkish and as we live in the globalized world where English language is dominating, several schools and universities grant courses in English. But certainly, 80% of the lessons are covered in national, Azerbaijani language.
The system is quite different from most of the countries. We start to go to school from 6 or 7 (in very rare 8) and finish in eleven years (usually). First four years considered to be elementary school and then 7 years of high school. During the high school it’s compulsory to participate in each lesson – from Physics to Arts, however, the last two years are very essential to be focused on the lessons, regards which career path you decide to pursue. You’ll be tested based on the questions from the subjects you chose. There are 4 main categories (called “groups”). Each group consists of 5 subjects where 2 are the main ones which provide more potential points and 3 second level of importance.
1st group – The subjects are Mathematics, Physics (main ones) and Chemistry, Azerbaijani/Russian language (depends in which language you graduated from school), English. Successful participants of this group might choose to continue their education in Engineering, Architecture and other sciences. Physics and Math... You should work really hard to get a good result here!
2nd group – Mathematics and Geography are priorities, while History of Azerbaijan, Azerbaijani/Russian language, English are the second degree subjects. Alumni of this group mostly consider their university education in Economics, Tourism and Business Administration. I was a victim of this choice :D
3rd group – Mainly, for the pupils who see themselves as a lawyers in the future. Azerbaijani/Russian language and History plays crucial role in this choice, also good knowledge of Mathematics, English and Literature are requested. Beyond career in law, there are opportunities for International Relations, Arts as well. I guess, the best decision for MUN-ers.
4th group – the last one on the list mostly followed by the people who have strong desire to become a doctor. I mean it, when I say “strong desire”, because it’ll take at least 11 years to get a full degree in Medicine. In this category necessary point givers are Biology and Chemistry, where Mathematics, Azerbaijani/Russian language and English are additional tools for gaining high marks.
Currently, I’m studying in Italy. Completion of school takes 13 years here what is 2 years more than in Azerbaijan. Another difference is the type of the schools. In Italy there are several types such as Scientifico (prevalence of physics, math), Classico (arts, literature), Linguistic (languages) and etc. While in my country majority of the schools follow the same design.
In conclusion, you might get an excellent high-school knowledge in very early ages in Azerbaijan and there are several (unfortunately, not many) good universities to choose for continuing education.