Social and cultural affairs

Education

According to a 1999 census 758 per 1000 of the population, age 15 and over, have completed secondary education or higher. Literacy among the same age group was 98% (men – 99.5%, women – 98.2%), with the small number of illiterates in the middle and upper age groups.
In 2000 there were 1,790 functioning preschool institutions in Azerbaijan, serving 111,000, or 16.1 percent of children of the respective age. In the Yevlakh and Neftchala regions there are two progressive “schools-kindergartens” with 109 young children attending. In addition, 1,265 children receive education in the 1st class program that runs in 71 preschool establishments. 82 percent of preschool establishments for first year pupils are located in urban localities.
To complement the general preschool facilities (99%) there are five special purpose and five sanatorium-type preschools for physically or mentally impaired children.
Furthermore, in six pre-school establishments special units have been established where 404 children receive both education and treatment. In 14 kindergartens special groups exist for dumb, deaf and blind children.
In 2003 1,690,000 children are attending 4,561 general education schools. Of these, 1,654,000 attend during the day and 36,000 at night. General education schools employ 172,000 teachers.
For 84,000 high academic achievers, Azerbaijan has 225 specialized schools, including 7 gymnasiums and 33 Lyceums.
There are 702 schools for refugees and internally displaced persons, part of them being situated in refugee camps and houses, some are situated in buildings. Some 88,000 pupils from refugee families study at these schools. For several years the schools have been working under overloaded conditions due to the number of refugees. In 2003, 580,000 refugees (35%) study in the second and third shifts.
Young people receive secondary vocational education via a network of multidirectional education establishments.
At the beginning of the school year 2000-2001 there were 68 state specialized secondary schools, attended by 41,000 students.
The reduction in admittance to technical secondary schools during the first half of the 1990s was followed by a significant increase from 1998. In accordance with the data supplied by the State Commission on Admission of Students, there were 138 applications per 100 places seeking education in vocational secondary schools. The number of those students seeking places at a medical education facility is higher still, 186 persons per 100 places.
Higher vocational schools are represented by the wide network of state and non-state higher education establishments.
In the Republic of Azerbaijan at the beginning of the 2000/2001 school year there were 25 state high schools, with 91,000 students. There were also the following specialized academies: Military Command Academy, Naval College, Baky Police Academy, and the National Security Academy.
The increase in admittance to high schools since 1995 shows the growth of interest to higher vocational education. This is also confirmed by the results of the poll held by the State Statistical Committee in November 2000 among pupils of senior classes of comprehensive schools. This poll showed 90% of those who finish secondary school wanted to continue with their education in some form, with 65% wishing to enter university.
High school entry in 2000 was 20,500, some 33% (5,100) up on 1995, with both the number of places and the number of applicants increasing. According to the State Commission on Admission of Students there were, on average, 275 applications for every 100 places. The following specializations attracted most interest: 3 applicants per place for humanities, international relations, music and arts; between 3 and 4 applicants per place for medicine, chemistry and biology.
One of the innovations of the reform of education in Azerbaijan is the establishment of new types of educational institution.
The number of the non-state secondary vocational education facilities is not high and this influences the training of specialists at this level. At the beginning of the 2000/2001 school year there were only three non-state secondary vocational schools, with 1,439 students studied. Of these, 616 students were on teacher training, 742 studied medicine, and 81 studied philology.
There are also a number of non-state higher schools in the country. At the beginning of the 2000/2001 school year 18 licensed non-state higher schools were operating. These were attended by 28,700 students, up from the 1995/1996 level of 12,500.
Specialist training to meet the needs of the employment market is given in commercial higher schools, where 26% of students study economics and 20% study law.

Education Attainment (2001), per 1000 population persons age 15 and over

Higher and secondary education of which: 908
Higher 108
Uncompleted higher 9
Vocational 122
Secondary 511
Uncompleted secondary 158

Secondary Education (2001)

Schools 4528
Pupils 1,648,540
Teachers 159,745

Vocational Education (2001)

Public Private
Schools 68 3
Pupils 41200 1400
Teachers 5316 216

Higher Education (2001)

Public Private
Institutions 25 18
Students 91,000 28,700
Professors, lectures 10786 2,400

Science

A wide network of scientific institutions has been established. At the beginning of 2001 there were 137 scientific research institutes, higher schools and other establishments functioning in the Republic attended by 26,400 students carrying out scientific research.

Research

1990 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001
Institutions Total 151 146 141 141 135 135 137 137
Including: Scientific Re-search Institutions 85 108 105 98 95 95 95 95

Culture

At the beginning of 2004 Azerbaijan had 3,354 clubs, 4,374 public libraries, 607 movie houses, 27 professional theaters, 4 philharmonic societies, 7 musical collectives, and 155 museums. Theater productions are performed in Azeri, Russian and Lezgin languages.

Public Libraries

Urban and rural localities 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001
Number of public libraries 4605 4795 4909 4890 4872 4794 4644 4608 4522 4382 4374 4152
Stock of books and magazines in public libraries, total, mln copies 45,3 45,9 44,5 42,2 40,4 39,3 38,9 38,6 38 37,2 38,7 36,9
per 1000 pop. copy 6386 6375 6078 5674 5373 5168 5063 4982 4857 4708 4867 4603
Number of readers in public libraries, (thousands) 4145 4171 3246 3141 3107 3031 2962 2967 2881 2899 2984 2912

Museums and Theaters

1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001
Number of museums (end of the year) 124 122 128 136 135 145 145 150 152 153 155 156
Visitors (thousand) 1154 2595 2027 2290 1595 1543 1635 1502 1377 1235 1196 1121
per 1000 men 164 363 279 311 213 204 214 195 177 157 151 140
Number of theaters (professional, end of the year) 20 20 22 24 26 26 26 26 26 26 27 27
Attendance (thousand) 1376 1584 1372 1587 1459 1201 744 801 842 853 925 837
per 1000 men 195 221 189 215 195 159 97 104 108 108 117 105

Movie Houses

1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001
Number of paid cinematographs, of which: 2164 1800 1025 956 906 790 696 677 671 632 607 607
Attendance, thousand 30195 31462 5629 1607 583 293 221 193 122 140 305 310
Average attendance per 1000 men, total 4280 4399 775 218 78 39 29 25 16 18 38 50

Health

In 2000 there were 735 hospitals and 1,614 ambulatory polyclinics operating in the country. This compares with 731 hospitals and 1826 ambulatory policlinics in 1990. The number of doctors per 10,000 of the population in 2000 was 36.5 compared to 38.7 in 1990.
The number of the population that received medical treatment in 2000 was 2.7 million, 18.5 % lower than in 1990. Of these, 1.2 million people, or approximately every seventh person, visited dispensaries for medical examinations related to chronic diseases.
Among those diseases registered in 2001 as being prevalent were those of the respiratory, circulatory and digestive system, diseases of the nervous system and sense organs, infections and parasitic diseases.
Main Indicators (2001)

Doctors (as percentage of all professions) 29.1
Per 10,000 men 36.3
Hospitals 735
Beds in hospitals 69,900
Per 10,000 men 86.0
Ambulances 1,618

Ecology

Every year 11-14 billion cubic meters of drinking water is drawn from the nation’s water resources, some 34 percent of renewable sources. Consumption is between 7-10 billion cubic meters; 60% being used in agriculture, 35% in industry and 5% for household purposes.
The volume of foul water generated each year is 138-180 million cubic meters, 91% of which is produced from homes and offices.
Atmospheric pollutants from ground sources amounted to 515,000 tons in 2000, or 64 kg per capita. Motor vehicle exhaust is the major contributor to air pollution, constituting 43% of the total, or 393,000 tons in 2000. Another major pollutant is toxic waste. Estimates put current volumes of accumulated toxic waste at 2,900 tons.
In contrast, 14 natural reserves with a total territorial area of 192,000 hectares are set aside for the protection and reproduction of flora and fauna in Azerbaijan. In 2001, the sum spent on protection of the environment and management of the natural environment was 104.2 billion mantas. This expenditure was 0.4 percent of the total gross domestic product.
Investment into environmental protection reduced in the late nineties in line with economic difficulties being experienced in the country. In 2000, only 8.6 billion manats was invested into measures on environment protection.

Sport

Physical training and sports are widely popular in Azerbaijan. There are physical training chairs in all Universities and colleges. Physical training classes are included in the curricula of the secondary schools. All Universities and schools have sports teachers and facilities and various regional, national and international sports competitions are held on a regular basis.
In rural areas traditional national sports are preferred, which include “gyulash” (wrestling), and “chovgan” (a form of polo). Many Azerbaijanis also enjoy playing “Nard” (backgammon), making it one of the most popular national pastimes.
Since independence Azerbaijani sportsmen have been taking a much more active part in international sports competitions. In 1995 only 165 sportsmen took part in different world and European competitions, but in the following year this number increased to 412. In 1995 Azerbaijani sportsmen won 22 gold, 15 silver and 27 bronze medals in international competitions and 21 gold, 17 silver and 28 bronze medals in 1996.
Azerbaijan was for the first time represented by an independent team in Olympic Games held in Atlanta in 1996. Namig Abdullayev, a wrestler, won a silver medal. In 1995 he became a European champion, in 1996 – a bronze prize-winner and in 1997 – a silver prize-winner of the European championship.
Achievements by women in sports in Azerbaijan are of special importance. Along with all traditional female sports, Azerbaijani women also participate in a form of sumo wrestling and excel at shooting. Zulfiyya Hasanova became a world champion in sumo wrestling in 1995 and 1996, a European champion in 1995 and a silver prize-winner of the 1997 European championship, while Zemfira Meftaheddinova has had remarkable achievements in shooting. She took first place in team competitions in the European championship in 1990. Later, in 1996, she broke the record while taking first place in the European championship.
Chess is also very popular in Azerbaijan. Following in the footsteps of world champion Gary Kasparov, who was a native of Baky, there have been Aynur Sofiyeva, Firuza Velikhanli and Ilaha Gadimova, who all achieved impressive results. In 1991 12-year-old Ilaha Gadimova became a champion among 16-year-old chess-players. In 1992 she became a silver prize-winner of the European championship among juniors, in 1993 – a European champion among students, in 1994 – a European champion among 20-year-old chess-players and in 1996 she took third place in the International Students Competition.
In 1998, the European Cadet Boxing Championships were held in Yurmala, Lithuania. Sportsmen from 29 countries participated in this event and Azerbaijan was represented by a full team. Facing tough competition, the Azerbaijani sportsmen Murad Chupalayev (69 kg), Farkhad Ajalov (54 kg) and Etibar Taqiyev (60 kg) won gold, silver and bronze medals, respectively.
In 2000, Azerbaijan participated in the Olympic Games staged in Sydney. Azerbaijani sportsmen won two gold and one bronze medals. Zemfira Meftahaddinova and Namig Abdullayev both won gold medals in skeet shooting and in freestyle wrestling respectively. The young athlete Vugar Alakbarov won a bronze medal in boxing. In addition, eight other athletes were awarded honorary diplomas. Rasul Salimov and Ruslan Khairov took the fifth, Islam Dakhchiyev took the sixth, Elchin Ismaylov, Zulfiya Huseynova, Natig Eyvazov, and Shamil Afandiyev took the seventh, and Elkan Suleymanov took the eighth place.
On June 23, 2001 a XV Olympic Day Run was held in Baky the capital of Azerbaijan. The event was based on 10km, 4km and 2 km runs, with both men and women participating. Several major cultural events were included in the program. About 2,500 amateur runners from Sumgayit and Baky, including foreign citizens, took part in Olympic Day Race. The first three place winners were awarded special prizes and presented with diplomas from the International Olympic Committee. All participants received certificates confirming their participation in the race. The oldest participant among the women was 63-year-old Taisiya Nalivayko, and 71-year-old Nicolay Kopalov was the oldest male runner. The youngest participants were Sabina Mursagulova, 8 years old, and Nihat Heydarov, 4 years old. A week later a similar even was staged in Azerbaijan’s second city Ganja.

Sport Facilities

1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001
Sport Facilities total 8,147 8,167 8,140 6,670 6,937 6,885 7,238 7,864 7,908 8,129
Persons participating in sport thousand) 392.0 376.0 370.0 394.1 298.7 353.4 329.6 352.6 355.2 400.5

Tourism

The policy of “Open Doors” adopted by the government of Azerbaijan, as well as social and economic reforms and democratization of society implemented in the Republic, has allowed many citizens of modern day Azerbaijan to expand the scope of their ideas about the world and to gain the opportunity to visit foreign countries. In 1994 the number of Azerbaijani tourists who traveled abroad, was 35,786. In 1995 the figure rose to 104,439 but fell back in 1996 to 74,045. In the first quarter of 1997 those traveling abroad were registered as 31,470.
The number of foreign tourists coming to Azerbaijan was 43,551 in 1994, 44,934 in 1995, falling to 16,350 in 1996. Foreign visitors during the first quarter of 1997 numbered 6,767. Azerbaijan earned $181 million from tourism from 1994 to the end of the first quarter of 1997. In 2001 the number of foreign tourist visited Azerbaijan was 6,300.
Agreements on cooperation in the field of tourism have been signed with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Greece, China, France, Islamic Republic of Iran, Romania, Turkey and the CIS countries. These agreements provide for coordination of cooperation on administrative levels in this field, working out joint projects aimed at the creation of new kinds of services, personnel training, exchange of representatives, expert groups, as well as literature, organization of exhibitions, congresses, conferences and cultural events, and realization of measures reducing formalities with regard to tourist exchanges. In this respect, work on the preparation of a package of documents with representatives of a number of states is being carried out.
Since 1994 direct contacts have been established with foreign tourist companies. Some 41 agreements and contracts on the exchange of tourists have been signed. Azerbaijan is a member of the Organization of Black Sea Economic Cooperation and of the international tourist organization “Eurasia”.
Azerbaijan has great potential for the development of its tourism industry – with its ancient cities, fortresses, palaces, mausoleums, mosques, towers, caravanserais (ancient trading oases). There is a museum at the unique Gobustan reserve, and the Ateshgah fire worshipper’s temple. Also there is the ancient Palace of the Shirvanshahs, and the Maiden’s Tower. There are more than 6,000 historical monuments of great architectural heritage on the territory of Azerbaijan.

Tourism Statistics

1997 1998 1999 2000 2001
Foreign tourists 305,830 483,163 602,047 681,000 766,992
Income from tourism million USD 285.08 549.05 649.80 716.60 750.26