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WiP Discussion Series: Inclusive Education Reforms in Azerbaijan

December 7, 2016 Print Share on Facebook

As part of our Work-in-Progress discussion series, we will be hosting Ms. Elmina Kazimzade from Baku State University and Ms. Ulviya Mikailova from ADA University, two distinguished experts on education policy, in our Work-in-Progress discussion series at 19.00-21.00 on 16 December 2016. The authors will be presenting their joint research in progress titled "Inclusive Education Reform/s in Azerbaijan: An Attempt of Critical Policy Analysis"

The language of the event will be English. Researchers, academicians, students as well as policy-makers are invited to the event. Yet, it is to open to all other kinds of interested audiences. People willing to attend the event should register in the link below

Address: 44, Jafar Jabbarli Str., Caspian Plaza, Conference Hall, 2nd floor.



This paper presents the case of inclusive education reform for children with disabilities in Azerbaijan. The authors apply an education policy framework to understand which factors contributed to the limited progress in the national education policy reform. The analysis particularly examines how social, educational, and cultural factors affect policy planning, formulation and implementation, as well as the evaluation of policy options. As result of a “pragmatic” approach undertaken by the government of Azerbaijan, the idea of inclusive education was addressed through its “translation” into hybridization of special schools. The paper provides a discussion of lessons learned from the reform process where despite the challenges faced within the first cycle in the inclusive education reform process, positive attitudinal changes towards the concept of inclusive education gained traction and wider acceptance. This wider acceptance of inclusive education ideas brings hope for the future of inclusive education developments on the national level. Finally, the analysis of the national inclusive education reform process may be helpful in the further reform processes as well as international discourse on country-specific localization of inclusive education.

Key words: inclusion, education policy, children with disabilities, pilot project.


Elmina Kazimzade holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the Ukrainian Institute of Psychology. Since 1995 she has been working in various international education programmes under the auspices of UNICEF, OSI, and the World Bank. She has held the position of Education Director at OSI for more than seven years. Elmina shares her time between administration, teaching and research. Elmina is an Associate Professor of Applied Psychology Department at Baku State University. She is a co-author of a textbook in applied education studies which is used in the national pre-service teacher training programme. Her recent publications on international comparative education are related to analyses of educational policy developments and challenges in countries which are in transition, education reforms’ on impact on teachers’ professional development,  textbook policies development.

She is a former President of Board of international Network of Education Policy Centres (NEPC) and coordinates joint NGO Center for Innovations in Education activities on comparative policy studies initiated by NEPC such as Parental Informal Payment in Education, Policy options development within Private Tutoring in Eurasia. 


Ulviya Mikailova is  Assistant Professor at ADA University. She graduated from Baku State University in 1981 with teaching degree in natural sciences and in 1990 got Ph.D. in Biology from Tbilisi State University, Georgia. Her experience in public service started in 1998 when she became Step by Step Program Director at the Open Society Institute – Azerbaijan National Foundation. She is a member of Azerbaijani National Society of Physiologists, and a Member of the Child Protection Network in Azerbaijan. In 2002-2005 was International Step by Step Association (ISSA) Board member and in 2006 she was a Vice-President of the ISSA.

Ulviyya Mikayilova is the executive director of the Center for Innovations in Education, local NGO in Baku, Azerbaijan. She represents CIE at NGO Alliance on Child Rights and Child Protection Network in Azerbaijan, Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and National Association for Education of Young Children (NAYEC). Ulviyya Mikayilova is also a National Representative of the World Forum on Early Care and Education in Azerbaijan.

In 2002-2006 she was ISSA (International Step by Step Association) Board Member, and in 2008-2011 was a member of the ISSA Program Committee and Regional Anchor for the region of Azerbaijan, Central Asia and Mongolia. In 2009, she was awarded a special medal of the Ministry of Education for excellent services in national education together with a group of CIE core staff members and trainers.  Since 2014 she serves again as a member of the ISSA Program Committee and a member of the Nominations Committee. Her professional interests are social inclusion of children from low income families, children with disabilities, refugee and IDP children, children from socially disadvantageous families and other vulnerable children. She is currently is involved in development of the Policy Unit at CIE, and overall management of CIE.

Both authors' bios and the abstract are submitted for Work-in-Progress discussion series organized by CRRC Azerbaijan, December 2016. Should not be used for any other purposes without the consent of authors.




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