Practical skills that turn students into sought-after employees
The opportunities for career development of youth are wide but quite a challenge nowadays. Thus, when applying for jobs, the majority of employers require experience. Given the fact that the vast majority of these young people are recent college graduates, in this case, most of them are depressed or engaged in non-specialized work. So, how and when should a student gain this experience in order to find a job after graduation? Naturally, it is necessary to pay attention to the development of practical skills of students in universities. How do the universities in Azerbaijan work in this regard? Is there a well-known infrastructure to enhance students' practical skills?
Head of the press and information department of the Azerbaijan University of Architecture and Construction, Najiba Mirzayeva, admitted that it is very difficult to start a career after graduation nowadays. "That is, students are not sent to work on a designated basis as it was in the Soviet era. Therefore, students are interested in internship and participating in various projects. Representatives of large companies organize seminars at various faculties. Almost the majority of students participate in such seminars and projects. Because the certificate they receive plays an important role in their future careers. Students who are able to demonstrate their positive qualities during the internship are provided with jobs,” she said.
Mirzayeva also noted that the university has created various opportunities for this purpose. "For example, there is an incubator center here. Students with ideas, startup projects apply to this center. Sometimes these projects take part in contests and succeed. There are foreign language courses at our university. Based on our partnership with the University of Leicester in England, students studying at the preparatory faculty are taught English by teachers of the University of Leicester. Moreover, our university also has various painting and drawing courses. We have enough partners regarding the internship. We cooperate with dozens of companies," she added.
Head of the department of public relations and marketing at the Azerbaijan State University of Oil and Industry, Bahruz Nazarov, said that the university has signed contracts with up to 150 different public and private companies. Under these contracts, students participate in the internship. "We have a number of forms of internship. Firstly, I would like to provide information on the compulsory internship. This internship period runs from February 16 to May 24 each year. Participation of students in internship is organized in accordance with their specialty and subject matter. In addition to gaining practical skills during the internship, they are engaged in activities that suit their specialties. Last year, about two thousand of our students participated in this practice,” he said.
Another form is the university's own internship program,” Nazarov pointed out. "This internship program is intended for one, two and three year courses. Students take part in internship programs in separate facilities on the basis of contracts signed by the university. The number of students can vary due to faculties. For example, almost all students in the energy faculty took part in our internship program. Students of the Faculty of Petroleum Mechanics, Gas and Petrochemical and Information Technology and Management are actively involved in this practice since they realize the importance of this in enhancing their practical knowledge and skills.”
Baku State University spokeswoman Parvana Ibrahimova emphasized that all students, from the first year to the fourth year are sent to internship in the relevant government agencies and companies, depending on the faculty they study. "Last-year students are practicing for one semester. For example, students of the journalism faculty are sent to media operating in the country. This includes television, radio, newspapers and news websites. Our students also broaden their practical knowledge in various institutes of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences. In addition to theoretical knowledge, our university is doing a lot to improve practical knowledge. There are also students who are focused on scientific research. They are appointed scientific supervisors,” she said.
According to Yashar Alkhasov, head of the Internship and Alumni Career Development Department at Baku Slavic University, during the eighth semester, the university students are being trained to improve their practical skills. "Students are focused on pedagogical and production practices. Pedagogical practice is conducted in secondary schools in Baku and in the village of Jojug Marjanli. Also, students are developing their practical skills in public and private organizations such as the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, the Ministry of Economy, the Diaspora Committee, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, institutes of the ANAS and the Institute of Manuscripts. Students also practice at the Shams Translation Center, which deals with translation services of Asan Service. At the end of the internship, active and capable students are recruited. Also, each year, our 5 students are trained in the permanent representation of Nakhchivan AR in Azerbaijan,” he said.
Head of the Public Relations and Marketing Department at Azerbaijan State Pedagogical University, Mansur Ibrahimov, said the university is considered the center of teacher training in the country. "We train teachers and teaching staff for Azerbaijani schools. Pedagogical practice is the first step of our students on their way to teaching. This practice plays an important role in shaping them as teachers in the future. Each year, our students go on internships in various well-known schools in Baku, where they gain experience and further theoretical knowledge. This also plays an important role in the development of their practical skills. There are specialties related to children with disabilities. In this case, students are directed to schools where children with disabilities are educated,” he noted.
Education expert Kamran Asadov said that according to the requirements of Article 11 of the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan "On education", students should be able to adapt to the requirements and conditions of the time, be competitive, learn to live and function in the information society, receive continuous education, have modern knowledge and skills, high intellectual level and new technologies.
"The objectives of this important government document are directly related to the education of the society and the solution of educational problems. Ultimately, the training and effective functioning of highly qualified, national-human moral and ethical values and qualities require a number of issues and a comprehensive, integrated solution. As education is uninterrupted, the purpose of activities between the levels of education should be fixed, and the search for the achievement of this goal must be conducted intensively and systematically. The education of pedagogical staff in all levels of human life should be established in accordance with world standards in educational institutions - secondary specialties and higher educational institutions, which will be prepared for all social, economic, service and cultural spheres,” Asadov added.
According to him, the effectiveness of the training and upbringing process at all levels of education depends on the scientific level of the teaching staff, pedagogical mastery, knowledge of pedagogical ethics and, most importantly, the practical readiness to work in the field of education. During the first three semesters, bachelors and sub-bachelors, who have mastered the basics of specialties, pedagogy and psychology, begin to practice theoretical and methodological knowledge, as well as pedagogical and psychological values. Students test themselves in this process by applying the theoretical knowledge, skills and habits they gain, and contribute to the enrichment of that social wealth on a small-scale basis through successful trials. Practice plays a very important role as a reliable, proven form, tool and factor for correcting problems. Unfortunately, the current state of pedagogical and industrial practices in universities is not at the expected level. Experience is not practiced at the level that meets the requirements of the labor market.