Microsoft Azerbaijan, with the support of the Ministry of Transport, Communication and High Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan has organized a workshop for the teaching and administrative staff of the higher education institutions in Baku on ‘Digital transformation in higher education’.

Mr. Emin Akhundov, Microsoft’s Education Program manager, in his speech noted that, main components of the Microsoft’s National Plan for Azerbaijan included the nationwide development of innovation field, improvement of efficiency of enterprises and transformation of education system.

Mr. Akhundov mentioned the agreement signed on June 2018 between ‘Microsoft’ and the Ministry on the procurement of licensed software for government agencies and noted that, in accordance with the agreement made between the parties, it was planned to provide the computers of civil servants and higher education institutions with “Microsoft” software licenses. Furthermore, as a privilege of the ‘Student Benefits’ program offered by Microsoft, the agreement also included free-of-charge provision of ‘Window’ OS and ‘Microsoft Office 365’ for individual computers of students of all higher education institutions in the Republic of Azerbaijan. The licenses for students will be distributed through edulicense.az internet portal. Edulicense is a social project developed on the basis of mutual initiative of the Ministry of Transport, Communications and High Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan, AzInTelecom, BestComp Group LLC and Microsoft Azerbaijan.

“Provision of licenses to the education institutions will enable the use of licensed software by students and teachers. And this, in its turn, will decrease the use of unlicensed software in private sector and nationwide overall. Despite the interest of education sector in the transformation process, its implementation is still at an early stage. ‘Microsoft’ highlights four main keys of successful digital transformation: engagement of students, provision of support to students and teachers; optimization of education institutions and transformation of education process. Education institutions should implement digital, interactive and individual content for the engagement of students’ – noted Mr. Akhundov.

Note that in countries where the level of use of unlicensed software is high, the risks of cyber-attacks are increasing, the level of knowledge in computer sciences is decreasing, the number of high-tech jobs is dwindling and there are difficulties in protecting intellectual property rights. According to the investigation made by IDC (“International Data Corporation”) for 2017, the use of unlicensed software decreased compared to previous years. Majority of required licenses have been provided by Microsoft.

Rectors of a number of Azerbaijani universities took the floor and spoke about the experience of digital transformation of educational institutions