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In the 13th-15th centuries in Baku, the Seyid Yahya madrasah operated along with the madrasah under the Shah Mosque of the Shirvanshah Palace. Founded in Baku by the Azerbaijani philosopher Seyid Yahya Jalaladdin Bakuvi (approximately 1410-1462), the highest theological-philosophical school had branches in Barda, Tabriz and other towns. In the 40s of the 18 century (after the establishment of the Baku Khanate), the number of primary schools, including schools and madrasahs, giving a broader education has increased. In the first half of the 19 century in Baku, along with the madrasah, Russian primary schools also functioned. The first county school was opened in Baku in 1832. The teaching in this school was conducted in Russian and the Azerbaijani language was taught as a subject. A new type of educational institution named a Muslim school and being different from the classical religious madrasahs was established in Baku in 1849.

The school for girls opened in Shamakhi in 1848 then was resettled to Baku in 1860. The first secondary school-progymnasium established in 1865, later, in 1867 was transformed into a real gymnasium, and then again, in 1874 transformed into a 6-year “realni” school. In the 80s of the 19 century Russian-language schools were opened in Baku for Azerbaijani children. In 1874, the first Women’s Gymnasium named the Mariinskaya was established in Baku. The private 6-class progymnasium school of A. N. Pobednostsev (1891), the Baku Classical Men’s Gymnasium (1896), the private 4-class progymnasium of I. A. Lavrov (1897), the first (1889) and the second (1898) city schools played an important role in the development of public education in Baku at the end of the 19 century. During that period a number of primary schools were opened in the villages of Surakhani (1880), Sabunchu (1883) and Balakhani (1896). The instruction in these schools was conducted in Russian, while at the same time, progressive-minded intellectuals tried to teach in their native language. The Russian-Tatar (Russian-Azerbaijani) school founded in 1887 was a step forward in this area. Despite the fact that in these schools classes were held in their native language, Russian was also used in teaching. During 1887 and 1901 years 10 schools were opened. At the end of the 19 century vocational schools began to appear in Baku. Among them there were such educational institutions as, the Baku marine classes (1881; since 1905 were reformed into the Baku marine school), the Baku vocational school (1888; since 1897 was reformed into the Baku lower technical school and since 1905 into the Baku secondary technical school), the School of agriculture and gardening in Mardakan (1896, was opened at the expense of the funds of the millionaire H. Z. Taghiyev), “sunday school” (1896) - an educational institution to provide education to working men and women. At the end of the 19 century 450 pupils were enrolled in 8 primary schools in working-class locality of Baku. In 1901, in Baku were opened Baku commercial school, the first Baku railway transport school and a Muslim boarding school for girls, also known as “Haji Zeynalabdin Taghiyev’s school for girls”. The duration of study at this school at various times was 4, 5, and 6 years. In 1916 it was transformed into a higher primary school and then into a seminary. In 1918 its activities were discontinued. Numerous educational institutions have effectively functioned in Baku at the beginning of the 20 century. These include traditional religious primary schools, several state primary, secondary general-education and technical schools, private general-education and music schools, as well as various general-education and vocational schools, literacy courses, orphanages, etc., opened by charity societies “Nashri-maarif ”(1906), “Nijat” (1906), “Saadat” (1907), “Shafa” (1910) and others.

In 1913, in Baku, 25,000 pupils studied in schools (in 92 primary schools — 15.5 thousand, in 12 seven-year schools — 3.6 thousand, in 11 full secondary schools — 5.9 thousand) and 890 people worked as educators. In 1915, the number of functioning primary schools in Azerbaijan was 25 and 12 of them were located in Baku, as well as 9 (700 students) out of 21 high schools. In the 1913/14 school year, 500 students studied in 3 vocational secondary schools operating in Baku. In 1914, Balakhani “realni” school was opened in Sabunchu. In 1919, by the decision of the ADR government a modern preschool educational institution was created in Baku. Some other educational institutions being under State care, such as European type kindergarten at the 1st girls’ gymnasium, 3 military schools for training officers and in 1919, Baku State University had also been set up in Baku at that period.

In the 20s of 20 century private schools were abolished; for children aged 8 to12 years schools of the first grade with a five-year term of study and for children aged 13 to 17 years schools of the second grade with a four-year term of study had been established. In the 1921/22 school year number of enrolled pupils in schools of Baku was 29,755 and in the 1940/41 school year, the number of pupils reached 133,400. One of the most important achievements was the massive involvement of Azerbaijani girls in schools. In the 1923/24 school year, 1.9 thousand and in the 1938/39 school year - 20 thousand girls were enrolled in secondary schools of Baku. In the 1922/23 academic year, 1,336 and in the 1940/41 academic year 4,768 teachers worked in the system of public education in Baku.

In 1929-30 major work was undertaken to eradicate illiteracy in Baku. Thus, about 26,000 people were involved in illiteracy-eradication courses for this purpose. Thereby, 15.5 thousand people were educated in 92 schools organized for older persons in the 1940/41 academic year.

The number of general schools in Baku increased, while the number of primary and lower secondary schools declined. In the 1960/61 academic year, 123 out of 226 schools and in the 1980/81 academic year 219 out of 291 schools were full secondary schools. Since the 1950s, extended-day groups and boarding schools began to open. In 1975, 493 kindergartens and nurseries (57416 children) operated in Baku. During the 1975/76 academic year, there were 284 general education schools (235934 pupils), 115 evening (shift) schools and schools for older persons (55319 students) and 48 primary vocational schools (27723 pupils). The total number of students in 27 schools of secondary vocational education - 39759 and in 13 higher educational institutions this figure reached 82530. In 1975, there were 33 sports schools for children, 2 stations for young naturalists, 2 young technical specialist stations and station for young tourists, railroad for children and other non-school education institutions. In the 1988/89 academic year, there were 272,500 students enrolled in 329 general education schools operating in Baku and in the 1993/94 academic year, the total number of students in 290 general education schools increased up to approximately 280 thousand.

After Azerbaijan regained its independence in 1991, important steps were taken in creating a new education system based on the principles of independent statehood. The first restructure was transition to a compulsory 11-year general secondary education programme. A new Law on Education was adopted. The decision “On the transition to the free use of textbooks by students of secondary schools” was implemented. State programs on the socio-economic development of the city of Baku and its settlements, along with other areas, approved by the presidential orders were aimed at developing the education sector, including the constructions of new schools, reconstructions and strengthening of the material and technical base of schools. 

The restoration of State independence and sovereignty was followed by a process of radical reforms and reorganization of the education system on the basis of national traditions and universal human values. In 1999, the Program for Education Reform in the Republic of Azerbaijan had been approved. 

According to the order of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan No. 1399, dated March 31, 2006, the education departments of Baku city were liquidated and the Education Department of the Baku city was established on the basis of the Directorates-General of Education of Baku, which was directly subordinate to the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

In the 2016-2017 academic year, the French-Azerbaijani University (UFAZ) was established in Baku. UFAZ students will receive two national diplomas (French and Azerbaijani) upon graduation – one by the Azerbaijan State Oil and Industry University and another by University of Strasbourg. In the 2016-2017 academic year, a solemn opening ceremony of Baku Branch of I. M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University was held.

State and non-state general educational institutions in the city of Baku and its administrative districts at the beginning of the 2020/2021 academic year
(Statistical data provided by Baku City Statistics Department)


General educational institutions

Number of students

Number of teachers

(without part-time teachers)

Total number for the city of Baku


504 043

33 645

Including administrative districts:



61 282

3 653



57 628

3 899



51 150

2 666



34 341

1 982



34 545

2 659



34 821

2 953



37 711

3 083



2 942




73 447

4 150



24 519

1 974



48 936

2 950



42 721

3 459

*except for special schools for children with disabilities