Shahin Seyidzade: "Sabah group recruit educated and trained students"

The special educational project Sabah, aimed at improving the quality of higher education, training of staff, corresponding to modern requirements and creating a new atmosphere in the higher education system, has been implementing in Azerbaijan for already three years. The Sabah groups recruit educated, skilled and trained students of the universities under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education. Now such groups are functioning in 11 universities, offering students greater opportunities for education and development. Under this project, needy students studying in these groups are provided with accommodation and meals. This year the first students of these groups will graduate, which will give an opportunity to understand whether the project is justified. The Sabah Academy of career was presented in the Ministry of Education to graduates of these groups yesterday as an employment assistance.

Vestnik Kavkaza spoke with the head of the Sabah Group Executive Committee, Shahin Seyidzade.

- Why there was a need to create these groups?

- Following the approval of the state educational policy, the reforms, which have been held in various areas, also covered the higher education. On the basis of these reforms, there was an idea to create a special educational environment for students demonstrating high academic achievement, which have a lot of skills and the motivation to learn. The Sabah project was based on this idea, on the one hand the 'sabah' word means 'future', 'tomorrow', and on the other hand, it is an abbreviation of three words - 'savadli' (educated), 'bacarıqlı' (talented) and 'hazırlıqlı' (prepared). The basic philosophy of the project is built on these principles and values. In the end of the first course, we select the best students. First, they pass logical reasoning and English tests. Then we conduct individual interviews. Students demonstrating the highest rates on the basis of tests and interviews enter the Sabah groups. They have separate programs and teachers. This is the incubation environment to develop educated students, which at the end of the fourth year must successfully build their own careers.

- Does the project justify itself?

- The "justifying itself" phrase would mean that we already achieved the results we can be proud of. It is too early to talk about it. There are certain results that give us hope for the future. This year the first students will graduate - this is the result. The future of these students is very important for us, whether they will be successful, because the education system does not have short-term successful results. Of course, we think about the long term. In the last three years Sabah has demonstrated the positive trend, future employers respond adequately, the university environment also responds. It is gratifying that in contrast to other groups of students, Sabah students have already demonstrated the qualities that allow employers to understand that they should invest in them. The main purpose of today's event is  to present the Sabah Academy of career project, which will provide full support to potential graduates through our partners from business enterprises and government agencies.

- What is the role of the Academy in the lives of these students?

- The Academy is a platform where the students, after receiving certain knowledge and tools, can build their careers right after finishing a university. There are four main areas.

The first area is employment. We plan to provide employability skills and knowledge, scholarships, internship programs.

The second very important area is the scientific activity. We have students already interested in science since their student days. We are working in this direction with the Academy of Sciences.

The third is a direction for students who want to continue their further education in Azerbaijan and abroad.

The fourth is startup, or young entrepreneurship. We are planning to organize various grounds, where our students will initiate business projects, and perhaps, some of them will become a very famous and successful businessman in the future.

- How do you choose partners and how willing are they to cooperate?

- Companies respond adequately and positively to this initiative. We do not choose them. The Sabah project has developed for three years, and within this three-year collaboration, we cooperated with many companies. There were companies that have expressed a desire to help education, students, institution, searching for qualified personnel. Considering these needs and interests, we have combined them within one platform, under one umbrella, called the Academy of career. That is, a special selection of partners was not made, it was an initiative of our partners, a certain agreement with them, and we appreciate their contribution to the specific tools of knowledge, training, which they will offer to our students.

- Will they be able to use trained personnel in the future?

- Yes. Over the past 6 months, more than 500 students from different courses, different professions trained in 38 companies and government agencies. They are not graduates, but they are taken or in the summer, or for half a day during their student days. Our partners have already hired some of the students.

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