Afad Gurbanov’s Role in Organizing Education in Azerbaijan

Afad Gurbanov is also known as an organizer in the area of Azerbaijan’s education. In 1969, as the deputy chairman of the Scientific-Methodical Boards of the USSR Ministry of Higher and Vocational Secondary Education and the Ministry of Education of the Azerbaijan SSR, and then as a member of  the Scientific-Methodical Center for Education Problems of the Ministry of Education of Azerbaijan and many commissions he did a great deal of work to organize and improve education within the country.


Higher educational institution pedagogics and methods accounted for a significant part of Afad Gurbanov’s activity. His work at a secondary school for a while and then for a longer period of time at a higher educational institution left their particular mark on his creative activity. The  books “Term and Graduation Papers on Linguistics”, “School Reform and Pedagogical Education Problems”, “Curator and Student”,  “Specific Courses and Seminars on Linguistics”, “Problems of Teaching Modern Linguistic Subjects” published by the scientist became useful teaching aids for teachers. One of the most important factors increasing the scientific-pedagogical value of these books by Gurbanov is the organic unity between his creative and pedagogical activity and the way in which each complements the other. It is precisely these qualities that have raised the works written by Afad Gurbanov in the area of higher educational institution pedagogics to the level of sources with high scientific-pedagogical value.


Professor Gurbanov was the first person to group the linguistic subjects taught at the republic’s higher educational institutions and he succeeded in creating a systematic approach to teaching them. He divided linguistic subjects into two large groups: general linguistic subjects (general linguistics and history of linguistics) and special linguistic subjects (historical-linguistic subjects, modern linguistic subjects, stylistic linguistic subjects, orthological linguistic subjects).


It is a well-known fact that every educational discipline is born out of a specific necessity and need in response to long-term experience and rich theoretical thinking and ideas. Professor Gurbanov played an exceptional role in the identification and formation of a number of linguistic subjects (general linguistics, Turkological linguistics, Azerbaijani speech culture, linguistic analysis of literary text, onomatology, etc.) taught at higher educational institutions.


In the former Soviet Union, starting in the 1950s, as a rule the textbook on General Linguistics was written in Moscow and the subject was taught in the final year as a continuation of “Introduction to Linguistics”. Having conducted research and delivered lectures in the area of linguistics for a long period of time, Afad Gurbanov deemed that it was necessary to teach the subject of “General Linguistics” in accordance with each language family, and, taking what was a courageous step for his time, he first developed a program for teaching the subject and then prepared a version of the textbook for pedagogical institutes. His book “General Linguistics” is the first textbook on general linguistics issues written in the Azerbaijani language. The book is based on the selection-systematization principle.


All those who work in education in the republic know Afad Gurbanov well as the author of textbooks on “Modern Azerbaijani Literary Language”, “General Linguistics”, “Linguistic Analysis of Literary Texts” textbooks and the “Azerbaijani Language” textbook envisaged for the XI form of Russian language schools. He always tried to raise the quality of teaching of linguistic subjects at higher educational institutions and published a number of scientific-methodical articles and books in this area while working as the dean, rector and head of department at the State Pedagogical University of Azerbaijan.


The scientific conferences, symposia, practical training sessions which he held, and the textbooks, teaching aids, practical works, methodic instructions, drills, and education programs which he wrote have played an important role in the teaching of the Azerbaijani language and in the study of general and Turkological linguistics in accordance with a specific system and, therefore, scientific bases.

The first comprehensive scientific conference dedicated to the topic of “Improving the teaching of the Azerbaijani language in the republic’s higher educational institutions” was held in 1984 at Afad Gurbanov’s initiative and as a result of his efforts. Professor Gurbanov presented a key paper at the conference, dealing with the “Status and key objectives of the teaching of the Azerbaijani language in the republic’s higher educational institutions”.


During the following period, republic-wide scientific workshops, scientific-methodical and scientific-practical conferences and meetings dedicated to various subjects were regularly held at the Pedagogical University at Afad Gurbanov’s personal initiative and under his organizational direction, and the material from these meetings was published under the title of “Problems of Improving the Methods of Teaching the Azerbaijani Language” (1983), “The Azerbaijani Language” (1984), “Topical Problems of the History of School  and Pedagogical Thought in Azerbaijan” (1984), “Music is the Means of Aesthetic Education” (1984), “Methods of Teaching Linguistic Subjects” (1987), “Perestroika and Distance Education Problems” (1988), “Topical Issues of Azerbaijani Literary Studies” (1988), “Perestroika and Azerbaijani Language Issues” (1988), “Problems of Teaching General Linguistics Subjects” (1989), “The Institute and Computerization Problems” (1989), “Problems of Teaching Stylistic-Linguistic Subjects” (1991), “Problems of Teaching Orthological-Linguistic Subjects” (1994), “Problems of Teaching Historical-Linguistic Subjects” (1994), etc.


In the 1980s, when he worked as Rector of the State Pedagogical University of Azerbaijan and as a member of the Presidium of the Rectors Council of the Higher Educational Institutions of Azerbaijan, Professor Gurbanov devoted even more attention to the development of higher pedagogical education. In addition to demonstrating special organizational skills in this area he provided clarification of a number of specific theoretical problems.


At the same time Afad Gurbanov played a role in the establishment of private educational institutions in the country in the 1990s and the special commission headed by him gave permission for the activity of a number of private institutes and universities (Western University, etc.) that are still operating successfully today within our education system.


Professor Gurbanov has been awarded repeatedly with certificates of honor and various prizes by the head of the country and the Ministry of Education for his services in the development of science and education.