The newly created University of Information Technologies will increase the integration of science into education, head of the Information Technology Institute (IIT) of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences, Rasim Aliguliyev, told Trend news agency last week.
The university was established under a presidential order on February 2, after the declaration of 2013 as the Year of Information and Communication Technologies in Azerbaijan.
The Cabinet of Ministers is to prepare draft regulations of the university and submit them to the president within two months, while the Education Ministry together with the Communications and Information Technologies Ministry were instructed to ensure the start of the educational process at the university from 2013-2014 academic year.
Taking to account the expansion of new technologies in social and economic development of the country, as well as in different spheres of everyday life, the university aims to shape highly qualified human resources for the creation of information-oriented society in Azerbaijan.
According to Aliguliyev, the establishment of such a university is a major aspect which stimulates timely integration of new knowledge, theories and innovations into education and further in the industrial process. However, reality shows that scientific works have had no access to the education system for years.
The main purpose of the university will be ICT staff training, which will be implemented using a special approach.
"This is a matter of unity of science and education, which implies training specialists differently than traditional professors... Actually, they will be tied down to the scientific sphere, regularly accumulate global trends, analyze and be directly involved in the educative process. Such practice is used in western universities, where professors and academics are part of a single chain," Aliguliyev said.
According to Aliguliyev, a similar method is applied in the IIT, as the institute employs scientists who conduct researches and publish their articles, thus becoming a major knowledge carrier in the sphere, while their knowledge is used by professors.
ICT is widely applied in Azerbaijani state institutions, business and civil life, Aliguliyev says.
Thus, there is a large demand for human resources that would directly take part in the process of building an information-oriented society.
ICT personal training in the Azerbaijani higher education system started in the 1960s and most of specialists in the country's ICT sector are graduates of local universities.
According to Aliguliyev, information technologies are developing rapidly and integrating new knowledge into the education system is important.
A flexible educational system is a topical issue in the ICT sector, as the ICT system should promptly respond to all innovations. The University of Information Technologies should meet all these requirements, Aliguliyev noted.
At present, conventional ICT specialities cannot respond to the call of time because of the absence of a flexible education system in training human resources. Thus, the demand currently exceeds supply.
There is a real demand for highly qualified personnel in such fields as web-design, computer and software engineering, and cyber security; the mentioned university is designed to train people with such specialities as well as offer refresher courses.
According to Aliguliyev, there are economic and other aspects in the ICT sector along with technological aspects.
According to him, there is a great need for ICT management specialists in Azerbaijan. Intellectual property rights provision in cyberspace is topical today, and there is a necessity for specialists.
"There are also legal and psychological aspects, under which it is also necessary to develop personnel," he said.
Azerbaijan has made a leap forward in the ICT sector development in recent years and particularly in 2012.
According to the ICT Ministry, some 325.3 million manats ($414 million) were invested in the ICT sector in 2012, which accounted for two percent of the total investment in the country's economy.