IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


IOE academic advises on project to increase employability in Azerbaijan

17 June 2019

Dr Mary Richardson has met with social entrepreneur Leyla Surkhayzade as part of the John Smith Trust Fellowship programme, which promotes good governance and social justice in the former Soviet Union.

Baku, Azerbaijan

Dr Richardson, Programme Leader for the Educational Assessment MA at the UCL Institute of Education (IOE), has met with Ms Surkhayzade to provide guidance on effective assessment practices for a new training programme in Azerbaijan.

Much of the education in Azerbaijan, according to Ms Surkhayzade, is focused on rote learning and testing and, as such, many young people lack the skills to become autonomous problem solvers.

GR8 Personal and Professional Development club, co-founded by Ms Surkhayzade, aims to reduce unemployment by training young people in so-called ‘soft skills’, such as communication, leadership, emotional intelligence, teamwork and presentation skills.

GR8 will pilot a six-month programme of inclusive ‘soft skills’ training across ten universities in Azerbaijan. Ms Surkhayzade plans to present the programme to the Ministry of Education.

Dr Richardson was able to share her insights on course evaluation and assessment, having advised on key changes to the national assessment design in state schools across Georgia. She was also Project Director for the SET project in Kazakhstan, providing subject-specific support in the development of new textbooks.

25 John Smith Trust Fellows were in London 10-14 June to meet with UK experts working in their respective fields. The aim of these meetings is to facilitate knowledge sharing between experts and young, future leaders from the Wider Europe region, which the Fellows can then feed into the implementation of projects in their home nations.

This years’ cohort of Fellows comprise of civil servants, elected representatives, lawyers, human rights defenders, civic activists, journalists and social entrepreneurs, from seven former Soviet Union nations: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine.



Image: Baku, Azerbaijan