Baku, Azerbaijan, July 19
Interview with Eldar Babayev, a graduate of Oxford University and University College London, who is currently a lecturer at Baku Higher Oil School (BHOS).
– Please tell about yourself.
– I was born in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. After graduating from a secondary school in Baku I was enrolled in Baku State University to study Computer Science. Under the State Program on education of Azerbaijani youth abroad in 2007-2015, I graduated from the University College London and received a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics. Then I did a Master degree in Computer Science at Oxford University. After the graduation, I began working in London as a computer engineer on startup projects, but finally came back to Azerbaijan. I continued working on various startup projects until I started teaching at the Baku Higher Oil School.
– You are a computer scientist and a lecturer. What profession is more difficult for you?
– There are challenges and difficulties in every profession. For the computer scientist, the major problem is to develop new solutions and approaches for a system and ensure the stability of this system. It also implies possession of research skills and ability to find the errors in the work. It is also important to explain the concept to the colleagues who are laymen in the field of computer science.
Teachers, in their turn, must be true leaders and good communicators in order to reach out to the students and engage them in an effective dialog. In my view, any teacher shall have these main qualities. It is also crucial to constantly keep in mind and view the audience.
– What subject do you teach at BHOS?
– I teach Application of Information-Communication Technologies in Engineering.
– You worked in the UK, but then you came back home and soon after that you started working at BHOS. What were the reasons for that?
– Indeed, it was not an easy choice. I got many interesting job offers both in England and from Azerbaijan. Even before I started working on the startup projects, I was invited to work for a company in Silicon Valley in the USA. However, I did return home to apply my knowledge and skills here. So, when the BHOS rector Elmar Gasimov invited me to become a lecturer at the Higher School, I accepted the offer with gratitude. I realized that I could do something for my country by sharing my expertise with young people. I am confident that I have made the right choice.
– What is so appealing in the work at BHOS?
– What attracted me most was the fact that this relatively new higher educational institution gained recognition and earned a great reputation. I was also honored to see the BHOS management trust and confidence in my teaching skills. Moreover, when I was employed, I saw that working conditions at the Higher School are far better than at any national university or organization.
– Do you find it challenging to work with BHOS students?
– Not at all. They are very enthusiastic about learning, but you need to encourage them and conduct interactive lessons. Thus you make sure that the teaching process is interesting both for the teacher and the students.
– Are your students knowledgeable?
– Let’s not forget that only the most talented and skilled young people become BHOS students, and then they gain more knowledge and expertise. After five years of the study, the graduates are true professionals and excellent and ambitious English-speaking engineers.
– Is there anything in the educational system in Great Britain that you would like to introduce in Azerbaijan?
– The classic route to university in the UK is the General Certificate of Education (GCE) Advanced Level, or A Level. It is designed for confident students who aspire to the most competitive degree courses at UK universities and beyond. Obtaining A Level or equivalent qualifications is generally required for university entrance, with universities granting conditional offers based on grades achieved. It is a subject-based school leaving qualification offered by the educational bodies in the United Kingdom.
For instance, a high school student who wants to study information technologies at a university has to obtain A Level in this subject. This helps the prospective students to get better prepared for pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in this field. This approach could be used in the educational system in Azerbaijan, too. If introduced, this program would significantly help both the university teachers and the students themselves.
– Being the Oxford University’s graduate and the BHOS lecturer, could you compare these two higher educational institution?
– Based on my own experience, I can tell that in the both institutions the communication between the teachers and the students is very active and that there are much more curricular and extracurricular activities than in other universities. Each of them is the best university in their countries, and their graduates can easily find prestigious and highly paid job both at home and abroad.
– What would you advise the undergraduates to do to be successful not only in their studies but also in life?
– They need to always improve themselves, work hard and stay motivated. They shall not be afraid to take responsibilities. I often tell my students that every formidable challenge can be divided in small and simple tasks, which are easier to deal with. But it takes time and efforts. In this case, you will have no fear, but instead. you will have confidence in success.