Links: Adventures, Education, and Eurovision 2012
Today’s post is a smattering of links that are newsworthy or worth reading.
First, worth reading is a post from Steve describing a great-looking adventure up in the Qusar-Quba region of Azerbaijan, in the north nearer the border with Russia. Steve writes about meeting an ex-government official, a recently-returned soldier, and visiting a pir (an excellent explanation of pirs here).
Second, it looks like the Azerbaijan’s Education Minister been saying some interesting things lately: In keeping with the recent policy implementation to retire educators at age 65, creating a wave of involuntary retirements and new job openings across the country, the minister has offered to make good on his own retirement since he, too, is 65 years old. On top of that interesting offer, the minister is also seemingly interested in raising teacher salaries. I doubt that he’ll be willing to implement the 2000 AZN/month figure he seemed to grab from thin air:
“Azerbaijan has a lot of professional teachers today, but they have very low wage – AZN 200. Therefore they retire and prefer tutorship at home”, Minister of Education of Azerbaijan Misir Mardanov said during the Baku education workers conference, APA reports. Mardanov underlined the selfless labor of the Azerbaijani teachers and said if they received AZN 2000, children wouldn’t need in tutors.
Last, Eurovision 2012 has seen two major developments in the last few days: Development one is that it appears that the Baku Crystal Hall has begun construction on the Baku bay. That 25,000-seat enclosed stadium will have to be completed in less than eight months, as the finals for Eurovision are scheduled for mid-May. Hope the rush on that order doesn’t compromise things like safety standards. Development two is that the government did respond to the Eurovision committee’s request that Azerbaijan’s visa regime be simplified. Unfortunately, with a flat “no”:
Samad Seyidov, the head of Azerbaijan’s delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), said on September 3 that “simplifying the visa regime ahead of [the] Eurovision [contest in 2012] is not under discussion.”
It looks like the Azeri government has left some wiggle room for compromise, but as of now, it looks like they are fairly firm on continuing to implement their somewhat-cumbersome visa process. Sorry, Eurovision fans and prospective tourists.