Friday, July 24, 2009

Hopes of the family

Acceptance to a university or college in Azerbaijan is strictly controlled by the State Students Admissions Committee (SSAC) which is authorized by the President to administer the national entrance exam several times a year. This system was set up shortly after independence in 1991 to eliminate corruption (you just paid the dean or some college official).

Today in a school near my office, the last of the tests was held....what is remarkable to me is the number of family members (parents, siblings, grandparents, etc.) who escort and patiently wait for their test taker to finish. I'm talking ....hundreds of people....gathered around waiting...and it just so happened that I was returning from getting a bite to eat just as the test let out.

I had to stand there a few minutes and watch the scene unfold. I am sorry I didn't have a camera but I bet the police directly the traffice would not have appreciated me being a photographer, nor would the crowds of people. Nonetheless, to know that the family members waited in the heat and sun for nearly 6 hours, knowing that the hopes of the family depend on the outcome of the test takers performance.

Those who score high will get into public colleges...considered the best...and if they score high enough..they will go for absolutely free. So you can see why the "hopes of the family" is so crucial.....

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