The coming of September signifies the beginning of a new school year, which is an equally exciting time in the lives of students, parents and educators. I have seen the new school year as both a student and parent. But it’s a different kind of joy to see yet another opening ceremony at the European Azerbaijan School (EAS), being able to greet talented Azerbaijani students, some of who are just at the beginning of their educational journey, while others may be in their last year of school.

Education has historically played an important role in our country: the first secular schools and university in the Muslim world were opened in Azerbaijan. The first secular boarding school for girls, sponsored by the Azerbaijani philanthropist Zeynalabdin Taghiyev, were also opened in Baku.

There are 1.6 million students across the country, and 165,000 new first-graders will enter the system this year alone. Education is crucial for the future of our country, and reaching the best international standards is one of its most important priorities.

The packed ceremony to open the new year at the European Azerbaijan School took place on two growing campuses: the primary Yasamal campus, currently home to more than 500 students, and the secondary Badamdar campus which hosts almost 400 students. Along with parents, students and staff, it was a celebration of Azerbaijan’s national Knowledge Day, and the school’s persistent expansion of the boundaries of educational achievement in the country.

One of the most memorable and proud moments of this year’s celebration was the Ministry of Education awarding three gold medals to graduating students for exemplary academic performance in the region.

The graduating class of 2018/19 has also delighted us with its success – out of the 32 graduating students, 29 have been accepted at universities all across the world including in the USA, UK, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Germany, Norway, Estonia, Hungary and Turkey. They intend on studying a broad range of cutting-edge subjects like aeronautical engineering, finance and computer science.

It is incredible that our students are getting scholarships from the world’s best universities, and I am certain they will continue in the same manner and will join the ranks of leading experts to proudly represent their country abroad.

It was proven time and again that the EAS has found a perfect working formula. The school offers a range of learning opportunities that will engage and challenge students to prepare for their place in a global market as intercultural citizens – with an international education accepted by universities across the globe.

Being an International Baccalaureate (IB) school, the EAS offers the IB Diploma programme for grades 10 and 11 in preparation for university entrance, along with the associated Middle Years Programme and Primary Years Programme for grades five to nine and one to four respectively. This is complimented by a Cambridge University certified curriculum in the primary programme as well as grades 8 and 9. The content of the Math, English and Science programmes gives parents the choice for their children to sit IGCSE exams in these three subjects.

Seeing EAS students achieve their first academic successes always makes me immensely proud of what the school has achieved over the years – it has really gone from strength to strength.

It was inspired by my own experience of educational systems in Azerbaijan and across Europe. I was fortunate enough to have attended some of the best international schools, both in Baku and London, and it became my mission to bring elements of what I found compelling in these international settings to students who are starting their journey after me.

It is my hope that the success of EAS can be replicated throughout Azerbaijan and the wider region, which I aim to achieve through the Azerbaijan Teacher Development Centre and the training materials produced by TEAS Press Publishing.

Meanwhile, I look forward to hearing about all the achievements of new and returning students over the coming year.

Find out more information about the European Azerbaijani School (in English) here.