CoHE President Erol Özvar Attends “UNEC Economy Forum”

December 2, 2021 / Azerbaijan State University of Economics, Baku

CoHE President Prof. Erol Özvar, who is in Azerbaijan for official visits, attended the "UNEC Economic Forum", hosted by Azerbaijan State University of Economics on December 01-03, 2021.

On the second day of the Forum, which is dedicated to the 30th anniversary of Azerbaijan's independence and held with the slogan "The Path to Victory", President Özvar gave a speech in the panel “Science and Education in Post-Pandemic Era", in which Nobel Laureate Prof. Aziz Sancar was also present.

Azerbaijan's future development strategy, the digital transformation of the economy, the business transformation in the post-pandemic era and Great Return to Karabakh were discussed in the forum. Özvar talked about the effects of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the field of education and solutions.

CoHE President Özvar reiterated that the higher education sector all over the world, like most other sectors, was caught unprepared for this crisis and that universities continued education via online teaching and distance learning. He pointed out that online learning had some clear benefits. “Online learning enables students to overcome the difficulties of physical distance, allows others to be mobile while learning, cuts some of the expenses of traditional learning and makes it possible to bring learning to a wider segment of the population,” he noted.

- "Digital information society and digital knowledge economy are the main goals of all countries"

CoHE President Özvar noted that digital information society and digital knowledge economy had become a goal for all countries and that the demand for a qualified workforce that was familiar with digital technologies would increase at the global level in line with this goal. “Thus, considering all of these, I believe that the integration of online learning into the traditional methods of university education and following hybrid models of teaching and learning is inevitable. A change in the higher education paradigms awaits all of us. I have to underline that e-learning or online learning brings challenges, along with benefits. We have to rethink the conventional issues of our higher education sector such as learning space, classrooms, course curriculum, schedules, education programs, and assessment systems,” he said.

Özvar underlined that the need for human resources with advanced talents in the labor market would gradually increase. He also stated that we should think about the rising trends in the employment market, new vocational training models, and the ways of creating flexible occupational profiles and providing students with the necessary skills in this direction.

- “Higher education must help shape the post-COVID-19 world”

Özvar said that universities should allocate more resources to the software industry and talked about the importance of simplifying the incentives for the researchers to increase the effectiveness of scientific projects after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“To conclude, going back to the ‘same old’ ways of higher education is not an option. Now, we all have to think about the most effective ways of using the benefits and containing the challenges of the new paradigm in our efforts to construct our new education model that would prepare new generations for the challenges of the increasingly globalized post-pandemic world.”

“Higher education must help shape the post-COVID world. Universities have to engage more proactively with their communities. We can only then better contribute to knowledge creation, educate students for active citizenship, and help create a democratic and inclusive society. So, first, we have to get over the please-get-back-to-normal syndrome. And then, we can actively turn these ideas into practice.”

Click here to read the full transcript of the speech made by CoHE President Erol Özvar.

CoHE President Özvar met with Nobel Prize-winning Turkish scientists such as Prof. Aziz Sancar as well as international academics and experts in the fields of education and economics.