"What can be more honest and noble than to teach others what you yourself know best?” said the Roman speaker Quintilian.
It is this idea that leads Ayan Aliyeva, the CEO of A-Level Education Centers. While still a high school student, at the age of 17, she started teaching English and realized that the goal of her life would be to share her knowledge with as many people as possible.
Today, Ayan is the founder of the A-Level Education Group, which, thanks to hard work and perseverance, has reached the global presence.
Nevertheless, this story is about the creation of one of the branches of A-Level Education Center, located in the suburb of Balajari.
So, a long time ago in the very center of the suburb there was a restaurant, owned by Ayan Aliyeva’s father. In the difficult times of the 90s, the facility fell into complete decline, and huge investments were needed for its restoration, which the family did not have at the time.
The two-story building stood empty and abandoned for about 10 years, as the state was asking the family to buy it out and privatize it, which couldn’t happen as the family didn’t have the funds to do so.
As the whole business of her father was in jeopardy, Ayan set herself the goal - by all means to redeem it. At that time, the girl was just 26 years old and due to the state and international grants, she received 4 degrees in the UK and the USA, that will later on help her opened a couple of language schools throughout Baku. However, at the time, this was not enough to privatize a two-story facility.
Despite the difficulties, Ms. Ayan was stubbornly moving towards her goal, because at that moment she already knew what she wanted - to open a real language school that meets all European standards in the neighborhood she grew up in!
Fast forward a few years, as Ayan was preparing to become a mother, she also embarked on one of the biggest challenges and adventures of her life. Having collected all the savings and taken a huge loan, she finally privatized the object. The second part of the improvement of the old restaurant required a second loan to be addressed and used for the reconstruction, and repair of the building.
Ayan’s relatives and friends were shocked by her decision, because they believe that the building would bring income and return of investment only if it continued its old function as the restaurant.
"Partially they were right; schools bring practically nothing financially,” Ayan laughs. "But the satisfaction that I feel, knowing that I've enabled the residents of my native settlement to study under the same conditions as children in European countries, does not compare with anything. This is my contribution to the development of the area. This is my "thank you,” says Ayan Aliyeva.
Today, the Balajari branch of A-Level Education Group is the only language school of this level in the entire Binagadi district. Teachers who teach in it pass at least three stages of advanced training abroad or take online courses, and some are personally trained by Ayan. The school carries out pre-school and school training, language learning, and different kinds of testing.
Today, Ms. Ayan lives in between two countries - the USA and Azerbaijan. She is receiving her fifth and sixth degree at the University of Liberty, where she is studying inclusive education for children (majoring in providing access to education for children with special needs, autism, Asperger syndrome, and Down syndrome), as well as educational management. In addition, she is going to defend her doctoral dissertation and get a doctorate in philosophy.
It is worth noting that the knowledge on teaching methods and educational management acquired by her in the UK and America is being implemented in all branches of A-Level Education Group in Azerbaijan. So - the training in these schools and centers meets international standards.
In addition, A-Level Education Group provides professional training on inclusive education. Trainings are conducted by certified inclusive specialists - teachers and doctors. Currently, teachers and psychologists are undergoing additional training in an inclusive teaching methodology to enable children in need of special care to receive education on an equal basis with everyone.
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