A School in need.
On the morning of the 13th of May, whilst re-tracing our route to the main road, we became intrigued at the numerous modern buildings that seemed to incorporate large covered "yards" with highly decorated roofs. Carl, ever keen to research the problem, stopped at a bus stop to ask. To his surprise he found himself answered in English by Mr. Askar Akbaz Oglu.
As well as answering Carl's question (they are new Medresas - Islamic Schools) he also invited the group to visit the secondary school where he taught Russian and English.
After a 2km drive up a muddy track we arrived at a forlorn concrete building very badly in need of repair. Our arrival caused a major disruption in the school's timetable. We were introduced to many of the staff and taken on a tour of the building. The school appeared to have no electric supply and the roof clearly leaked in many places. Many windows were broken.
Mr. Oglu explained that recent changes in government policy meant that from next year (2003) they would have to teach English rather than Russian, although they appeared to have no English teaching maternal and a very limited number of English speaking staff.
As far as we could establish there were around 350 pupils ranging in age from about 10 to 16.
We were eventually taken to the classroom of Ms. Sinaya Imram a very dynamic teacher who in addition to teaching geography was also the "curator" of the school's "museum of Azerbaijan culture".
After we had been given a lecture on Azebiajan history (mostly recent) Carl was called on to explain our trip.
When we asked if any of the children wanted to ask us a question this concept was scarcely understood and when one child was eventually persuaded to speak the translation was a politically correct (and un-childlike) fraternal greeting.
After being given tea with the staff we presented Ms. Imram with the only suitable items we could find (a calendar of Yorkshire photographs that Les had with him, and some Canadian badges and pens from Carl.). On the way back to our vans the assembled school sang to us and one child made a short speech in English.
Although we explained that it would be nearly a year before we could send them copies of the photographs we had taken Mr. Oglu insisted that we photograph the assembled school (many times).
The address of the school (should you wish to send them any teaching materials particularly for English or Geography) is (This address updated 2004-11-17):
Mr. Askar Akbar
Home - This page last changed on 2004-11-17.