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A good person is not a professionInterview 

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Question: In recent days, videos have been regularly distributed on social networks in connection with the unethical behavior of students in the classroom. What is happening in schools? Do you consider it is a provocation or a clear manifestation of the level of educational work in schools?

Answer: If you look at the problem of the distribution of videos about our schools in recent days, more broadly, then nothing special is actually happening. That is, most of us have some memories of school years. But the fact that a video of current students was filmed and shared on social media drew strong condemnation from the public. I believe that the comments are correct, both to the education authorities, schools or teachers, as well as to parents. How does a child of 14-16 years old know what a provocation is? What happens is just a result. Our education is in serious trouble. Through such seemingly unrelated events, from time to time these problems manifest themselves. And the biggest problem is that we are unwilling or unable to investigate, find and eliminate the causes that lead to such consequences. But this also has its reasons.

Question: In addition to videos about the unethical behavior of students in the classroom, an audio recording is distributed on the network, in which the headmaster demands a bribe from the teacher. A video about how a teacher beats a child is also being distributed, and footage of a conflict between parents and a teacher is posted. If what is happening is a provocation, against whom is it directed and what is its purpose?

Answer: The long-term struggle of the Ministry of Education against bribery in schools does not give the desired effect. The reason is that the struggle is not carried out systematically. That is, we deal with the consequences, punish, and sometimes take steps to hide them from the public. I want to note once again that there can be no question of any provocation. There is a reality, and this reality is that those who have studied abroad, are someone’s relatives or acquaintances, are appointed to functional positions in the Ministry of Education, based on such an approach as, “if I know a foreign language or studied abroad, it means I know everything”, in the absence of cooperation with specialists with experience in the field of education, incompetence, grouping and other factors. It is impossible to manage education in this way. I respect each of these people as an Azerbaijani, as a young man. But a good person is not a profession. And in those who criticize shortcomings, one should not see a personal enemy.

Question: After the appearance of the videos, only one teacher was punished and the issue was considered closed. Is it correct? Why weren’t the principal, the deputy principal for educational work, the psychologist punished? What steps should be taken when such incidents occur in schools?

Answer: As has already been said – this is incompetence. The steps taken today are like looking for a black cat in a dark room. Education is a specific area. In this area, people related to this area should work. What will happen if specialists from other fields work in the Ministry of Defense or the State Security Service? Education is the same specific area and you can’t joke with it. We seem to be fighting bribery, but in fact it is becoming more and more every day. The question arises – what kind of struggle is this? We have repeatedly suggested that our colleagues, who head or work in the Ministry of Education, meet, hold discussions, and consider our proposals. Believe me, they are so closed, so arrogant, as if the central executive body of the state is their property. All their thoughts are occupied with various projects for “cutting” millions. And day by day the situation becomes more and more serious. Education is not an area that can be managed through social networks.

Question: Let’s also admit that there are psychologists in schools, but they are inactive. Pedagogical activity is very weak. As if teachers have not been trained in Azerbaijan in recent years. But the activities of a psychologist in schools are not taken seriously. What is the reason? Why did such a situation arise?

Answer: In schools, not only the activities of psychologists are paralyzed, but also the education system. The regulation that regulated the activities of school psychologists was canceled in 2018 and there is still no document that would regulate the activities of school psychologists. The salary of school psychologists is very low, I would say, close to the salary of technical workers. To create a system of education in schools, first of all, the concept of education in the country should be adopted. The education system should work in accordance with this concept. Without ensuring the systematic work of psychologists, it is impossible to build a system of education and upbringing at school. Alienated attitudes towards school psychologists (both their activities and psychologists themselves) must change. It needs to be changed without wasting time.

Q: Many experts are suggesting that students be banned from bringing mobile phones to schools to prevent such videos from appearing. Is it correct? How legitimate is the introduction of a ban on phones in order to avoid the appearance of such videos and hide what is happening in schools from the public?

Answer: The rules of intra-school discipline must be applied. Yes, everything that interferes with the learning process, including the use of mobile phones in the learning process, should be limited. For both students and teachers. The student is busy with his phone during the lesson. Sometimes teachers do this too (unfortunately, there are many such teachers). Consequently, the educational process is violated, which is unacceptable. Almost all students have a mobile phone to connect to online learning introduced during the pandemic. Let it be. But, at the same time, due to the lack of control over the use of mobile phones in families, students developed Internet addiction. We all see that this is fraught with serious complications for both the physical and spiritual maturation of children. The use of mobile phones by both students and teachers during the educational process at school should definitely be limited.

Question: What steps are needed to turn schools into educational  centers?

Answer: This is the 32nd year of our independence. There are 4432 general education schools in the country. However, there is still no regulation on general education schools. Regulations for comprehensive boarding schools were adopted in 1994, but there are none for other schools. By the Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan No. 5 dated January 13, 2011, the “Model Charter of General Education Schools” was approved. But not a single school in our country still has an individual Charter, although Article 1.3 of this document says that this model charter serves as the basis for creating an individual Charter for each school.

First of all, the Charter should be created in accordance with the types of general education schools. Each school must build its activities on the basis of this Charter. There are no legal documents concerning the management of general education, including the regulation of the process of education and upbringing in general education. Regulations and instructions regarding activities in the field of education should be developed.

So far, we have not been able to do anything to organize methodological work in schools. The only center for scientific and pedagogical research in the field of education, the Institute for the Development of Education has not carried out and is not conducting any work in this area.

Obviously, if we want to achieve some kind of positive in the field of education, then we must approach this process in a comprehensive manner. And for this, there must be personnel who have come out of the bowels of the education system. But, as long as they are not in demand. Therefore, I do not expect positive changes in the foreseeable future.

Kamran Mahmudov

xural.com

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