TBY talks to Siyavush F. Garayev, Rector of Azerbaijan State Oil Academy, on his institution’s role in preparing the next generation for work in the oil and gas industry.
TBY What was the aim when establishing the Azerbaijan State Oil Academy?
SIYAVUSH F. GARAYEV Azerbaijan is known as the “oil academy of the world”, and this is due to the country’s long involvement with natural resources. This academy was originally founded in 1920 as the first higher educational institution with an oil and gas focus in Europe and Asia. Today it is known as the Azerbaijan State Oil Academy (ASOA), and occupies a significant place as a development pioneer with its extraordinary success and achievements. Over the years the academy has remained faithful to its original aim—to train highly qualified engineers and scientific staff in the exploration, extraction, exploitation, and processing of hydrocarbon raw materials. We now have around 7,000 students representing people from all walks of life in Azerbaijan. Many of our students’ parents also work in the oil and gas sector, and in some cases our students are third-generation alumni.
How did you get involved with ASOA?
I was born in 1942 and graduated from the chemistry faculty of Baku State University in 1964. I later obtained my PhD from the Moscow Institute of Fine Chemical Technology. I then followed an academic path from junior researcher to faculty dean, a position to which I was appointed by Presidential Decree in 1997. I am also a full member of Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences and several international academies.
What are the main fields of study you offer students?
The basic directions of professional training are reflected in the names of our specialized faculties: Geological Prospecting, Oil and Gas Production, Chemical Engineering, Oil-Mechanical, Power Engineering, Automation of Manufacturing Processes, Economics, International Economical Relations, and Management. Training is conducted over 31 specialties during a Bachelor’s degree and over 74 specializations during a Master’s degree.
How has the university worked to become more globally integrated?
The Minister of Education signed an agreement and we entered the Bologna system, meaning we are fully signed up to the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). The main language we use for education is Azerbaijani, and we also offer Russian language programs. In addition, over the last four years we have set up English language education for four specialties. We also invite foreign professors from the US and various other partner institutions around the world, as well as send our own staff abroad to gain skills and knowledge.
To what extent have you worked to build ties with foreign institutions?
In total ASOA supports bilateral cooperation with almost 40 foreign high schools and oil companies. A number of international educational projects have also been implemented recently in partnership with leading centers in the US, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Italy, and China. In addition, Bachelor and Master training on various specialties is carried out jointly with universities in Atlanta, Siegen, Cologne, Nice, Genoa, Heerlen, and Warsaw. Within the framework of these programs we have agreements on continuous training at a high level at corresponding universities in the US, Germany, and France.
© The Business Year