THE IATEFL Associates/A.S.Hornby Educational Trust Project
Study Tours among AzETA Branches
March – June 2017
1. BACKGROUND AND RATIONALE
With economic hit of the country in 2014, AzETA faced problems in managing its branches. As a result, AzETA’s activity slowed down.
Nevertheless, 3 branches are still functioning successfully. This project aimed to give a chance to AzETA branches to come together and visit these 3 branches to learn from their experiences.
The other aim of the project was for Kemale Nasirova, AzETA South Branch Manager to share her experiences as a first time participant at the IATEFL Conference in March 2017 and encourage members to apply to IATEFL scholarships in future to attend its Conferences.
AzETA has benefited from IATEFL Wider Membership Scheme many times. However, due to recent decline in membership, AzETA has missed to benefit from this unique opportunity. During the intended study tours benefits of WMS will be shared with the participants and AzETA will apply to IATEFL to benefit from this opportunity again.
AzETA was about collapsing in 2003. With Hornby Trust project membership increased from 150 to 500 during the project period and AzETA revived nationally and internationally. As such, this project also aims to revive AzETA nationally and internationally.
- PROJECT OBJECTIVES
- To share good practices, experiences among branches
- Branches to learn from one another’s experiences
- Management of the branches to be improved
- Member services in AzETA branches to be improved
- Relations, communication and co-operation among branches to be strengthened
- New members to be attracted to AzETA nation-wide
- Members to be motivated to join IATEFL through Wider Membership Scheme
- Members to be motivated to apply to IATEFL conferences
2. PROJECT TEAM MEMBERS
- Ragsana Mammadova, AzETA Founder and President, Project Manager, responsible for writing and submitting project proposal, managing the project, writing reports
- Hijran Huseynova, AzETA 1st Vice-President, Project Co-ordinator, responsible for co-ordinating study tours among AzETA branches
- Gulnaz Hajiyeva, AzETA Mingechevir Branch Manager, Project team member, responsible for organising study tour to AzETA Mingechevir Branch
- Kamala Nasirova, AzETA South Branch Manager, Project team member, responsible for organising study tour to AzETA South Branch
- Sevda Baghirova, AzETA Khachmaz Branch Manager, Project team member, responsible for organising study tour to AzETA Khachmaz Branch
3. TIMETABLE OF EVENTS
25 February 2017 Meeting of the AzETA Executive Board in the AzETA Head Office in Baku to discuss and plan the Project activities
11 March 2017 Meeting of the AzETA Executive Board with the AzETA Branch Managers in the AzETA Head Office in Baku to discuss and plan the Project Activities
24 March 2017 Study tour of AzETA Branches to Mingechevir Branch
21 April 2017 Study tour of AzETA Branches to South Branch
8 July 2017 Study tour of AzETA Branches to Khachmaz Branch
15 July 2017 Meeting of the AzETA Executive Board and the Branch Managers in the AzETA Head Office in Baku to discuss the outcomes of the Project and future activities
- DESCRIPTION OF ACTIVITY
Meeting of the AzETA Executive Board
On 25 February AzETA Executive Board had a meeting in the AzETA Head Office in Baku to discuss and plan the Project activities.
Ragsana Mammadova presented the Project and introduced the schedule of the Project activities.
As June was a very busy period for the teachers, the Executive Board agreed to organise Study Tour to Khachmaz on 8 July 2017 and to have the Project-end meeting with the Branch Managers on 15 July 2017.
The responsibilities towards organising the study tours were shared as below:
Ragsana Mammadova write a letter to the Minister of Education and localauthorities on the Project to seek support for organising the study tours
Hijran Huseynova co-ordinate the study tour with the Branch Managers
Sudaba Sadigova share pre- and post-event information on the AzETA Facebook page
Gamar Rustamova organise transportation to the Project regions
Nushaba Bakhshiyeva organise badges, stationary and event program before each study tour
Solmaz Mammadova assist in Project report writing (collecting feedback from participants after each study tour)
It was also agreed that different members would join each study tour so that more members could benefit from this unique opportunity of learning from one another.
As such, it was decided that 25 members would join each study tour from other AzETA Branches. The Branch hosting the study tour would invite between 15-30 members depending on the capacity of the meeting venue.
Study Tour to AzETA Mingechevir Branch
On 24 March 2017, AzETA Branch Managers (10 Managers) and 2 activists from each branch had a study tour to AzETA Mingechevir Branch. As the study tour was organised in Mingechevir, 30 members from Mingechevir Branch joined the metting and discussions. The meeting was held at the premises of Mingechevir Youth Development Centre.
In spite of economic crisis and pressure on non-government organisations, Mingechevir Branch has been successful to function voluntarily and involve members in different activities.
Ragsana Mammadova, AzETA Founder and President made a presentation on Hornby Project and shared the aims and objectives of the Project. She highlighted the challenges AzETA has been facing in the last 2 years due to the change to NGO legislation in the country. Nevertheless, 3 AzETA Branches, including AzETA Minghechevir Branch has been successful to continue their activities and help teachers in their professional development.
Mingechevir Branch Manager Gulnaz Hajiyeva shared her experiences on how she manages to keep good relations with the local authorities to achieve a free premises for the Branch, as well as, how she involves students to volunteer for the Branch. The Branch Management team, consisting of 5 members, shared their experiences on managing the Branch. They also presented Branch Action Plan for April – June 2017.
Mr Anar Aliyev, Director of School #10, talked about AzETA’s role in professional development of English teachers of Mingechevir. He highlighted the importance of Hornby Trust project which enabled AzETA members from different regions to come together and share their experiences, challenges and support one another. She also thanked AzETA for organising this important event in her School.
Mrs Dilara Mustafayeva, Head of English Department of Mingechevir State University, Mr Elshan Pashayev, English Language Teaching Advisor of the Mingechevir City Education Department, Directors of Schools # 1, 10 and 21, Mr Shafagat Rasulov, Education Advisor from Ismayilli & Honorary Teacher of Azerbaijan also participated in the meeting.
The event was finalised with presentation of AzETA Mingechevir Branch Enjoy English Club that brings students from different schools and colleges of Mingechevir.
Study Tour to AzETA South Branch:
On 21 April 2017, AzETA Branch managers and 2 activists from each branch had a study tour to AzETA South Branch. The event was organised in the open air. 25 members from AzETA Branches and 15 members from South Branch joined the study tour.
Ragsana Mammadova opened the event and talked about the Project. She made a journey to AzETA’s history where she mentioned that in 2001 while AzETA was collapsing due to mismanagement, Hornby Trust Project titled ”In-service Teacher Training in 6 Regions of Azerbaijan” saved AzETA from collapsing. Now due to new changes to NGO legislation of the country, like many other NGOs AzETA was also facing problems in receiving funding and functioning effectively. At this challenging period, Hornby Trust Project was a unique opportunity for bringing members from AzETA Branches together and seeking ways for continuing activities through learning from the experiences of successful branches. One of three successful brances was the South Branch.
Miss Kamala Nasirova, South Branch Manager is a young teacher who travels to manage the branch twice a week from a 40 km distance. She attended IATEFL Conference in Glasgow on 4-7 April 2017 with the IATEFL Scholarship. She also joined IATEFL Associates Day to represent AzETA on 3 April where she had a chance to promote Hornby Trust Project with the participants.
At the study tour meeting she shared her experiences on applying to IATEFL Conference as a first time participant, as well as, on her success of managing the Branch. AzETA South Branch has a very good management team consisting of young teachers. The team members also shared their experiences on successful Branch management and secrets of their motivation for volunteer work.
At the end of the meeting Kamala and her team answered the questions of the participants.
Study Tour to AzETA Khachmaz Branch
On 8 July 2017 AzETA Branch managers and 2 activists from each branch had a study tour to AzETA Khachmaz Branch. This Branch is the first AzETA Branch established in May 1999. Until 2014 this Branch was very active and successful to host 3 regional conferences and lots of medium-scale projects. However, the economic crisis hit this Branch and the management faced lots of problems. The Branch lost its office premises provided by a School due to lack of communication with local authorities. The members of the Branch requested the first Branch Manager Mrs Sevda Baghirova to become the branch manager again. Within a short period she managed to revive the Branch and attract members.
At the study tour to Khachmaz Branch she shared her experiences on effective branch management. One of her secrets for successful management was establishing Young Learners’ Club where the teachers taught the children poems, songs and prepared dramas in English for the kids to perform at different events in Khachmaz. The parents found it very useful and thus, supported AzETA in getting offce premices at School # 6. Having an office premise gave members an opportunity to come together weekly and continue their activities. It was agreed that AzETA 13th Conference woulf be held in Khachmaz on 24-25 June 2018.
South Branch Manager Kamala Nasirova talked about IATEFL Conference and gave tips for applying for the scholarship to attend the Conference. At the end of the talk she answered questions. This talk was shared live through AzETA Facebook page.
Elshan Veliyev, ELT Advisor of the Education Department of Khachmaz, Directors of Schools #6, 8 and 11 also attended the event.
Members of Young Learners’ Club performed songs and poems in English.
As it was the last study tour under the Project, Branch Managers made short speeches about the effectiveness of the Project and its impact on the activities of their respective branches.
Follow up meeting of AzETA Executive Board with Branch Managers
On 15 July 2017 AzETA Executive Board had a meeting with Branch Managers at AzETA Head Office in Baku to discuss the impact and outcome of the Project. At the meeting the Executive Board and Branch Managers discussed AzETA Action Plan for 2017-2018 academic year where action points to follow-up the project to achieve its sustainability were made. One of the action points was for the Branches to prepare a list of members to apply for IATEFL WMS. Another action point was for the Branches to develop their Action Plans for 2017-2018 academic year where to consider experiences of other Branches to apply wherever possible.
- About 80 members benefitted from the Project directly.
- Members selected to join the study tour were encouraged more to contribute to AzETA.
- AzETA membership raised in Project regions respectively since the Project.
- Branches that hosted the study tours were empowered in organising an event for members from different regions.
- It was a unique learning opportunity for the Branches that were challenged with economic crisis to continue their activities.
- Awareness of availability of scholarships to attend IATEFL Conferences was raised among Project beneficiaries.
- Branches had new ideas for the new school year on involving new members.
- Schools represented at the events offered co-operation with AzETA.
- Goygol, Barda and Sheki Branches offered organising study tours to their respective Branches in 2017-2018 academic year at the expense of the members who would want to join the study tours.
- With the request of the Project beneficiaries, AzETA will apply for IATEFL WMS.
NGOs, in particular, Teachers’ Associations are very important tools for the development of the civil society. A professionally and personally developed teacher can contribute to the society more than any other professional. As such, through this short-period Project with limited funding, it was possible to motivate the Project beneficiaries to continue their volunteer work for the sake of the development of the society they and their children belong to.