Dear Congress participants,

Dear teachers,

I cordially welcome you - participants of the XII Congress of Azerbaijan teachers, extend each of Azerbaijani teacher, staff of education of the Country my best wishes.

Teacher is an honorable profession. Teachers of Azerbaijan are worthy of this title. I always regard teaches’ labor with great respect. And today, on my behalf and on behalf of our people I extend my gratitude for teachers’ labor for society. We all are in debt of gratitude to Azerbaijani school, Azerbaijani educators.

Education in Azerbaijan has an old and rich history. And the achievements Azerbaijani education has reached in the XX century are the remarkable pages of our history. In this period, there were done a lot to liquidate illiteracy in Azerbaijan and enlighten the population. The major aspect and great success of this period was that the people of country were provided to receive education in all stages in their mother tongue. Due to these, according to the education and scientific level of population, Azerbaijan in a short period became one of the leading and developed countries.

Regaining state independence by Azerbaijan necessitated conduction of reforms to meet national statehood principles and universal values. In compliance with the state program, essential reforms were launched in the field of education, and the irreversible process enveloped all the education stages, providing integration of Azerbaijan education to the world education system.

Education is the future of nation, foundation of the independent state. As a President, I would like to assure you that education, the education reforms has always been in my focus. I deem that the state every time in difficult periods should render assistance to education, the educators and teachers. It has been my principle position in all periods of my activity.

The United Nations has announced the XXI century as the “Century of Education” and requirements of this development strategy put significant tasks before Azerbaijan education as well. I am confident that your first Congress in the new XXI century will worthily assess the accomplishments gained in the passed period after the last Congress, reveal the existing problems in this sphere, and mobilize the County’s intellectuals to implement the decisions for development of national education.

I wish success to the Congress, each of you health, happiness and success in your activity.

Heydar Aliyev,

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan

3 October 2003

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