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Merkur construction sets provided to schools in the Şamaxı region

On 9 and 12 December 2019, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Azerbaijan Milan Ekert and his deputy Daniel Putík provided construction sets produced by the Czech „Merkur Toys“ company to schools in Muğanlı, Qaravəlli, Meysəri, Əngəxaran and Qızmeydan in the Şamaxı region at ceremonies attended by the Head of International Relations Division of the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. Tural Əhmədov, the Head of the Şamaxı Regional Education Department Mr. Namiq Nağıyev, the Head of the Republican Child and Youth Development Center Ms Firuzə Sultan-zadə and directors, teachers and students of the respective schools. In the framework of a local small scale development cooperationproject financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic and implemented by the Baku-based Social-Ecological Center „EkoSfera“, the five schools have been provided with „Merkur“ construction sets to ensure a better preparedness of their students for technical professions as well as for further education, by employing modern „learning through play“ methods.

Presenting „Merkur“ construction sets, along with manuals translated into the Azerbaijani language, to teachers and students who will use them in physics classes as well as in voluntary and leisure activities, Ambassador Ekert looked back at the history of the renowned Czech „Merkur“ brand and of the production of „Inventor“ and „Merkur“ construction sets which has been associated with the small Czech town of Police nad Metují since 1920. Focusing on the applicability of these toys in the sphere of education which has always been central to their development, the Ambassador pointed out that „Merkur“ designers have always aimed at developing technical skills and interest for science among girls and boys. In this context, he referred to the example of the Czech-born German physicist Peter Grünberg (1939-2018) who discovered his love for mechanics while playing with „Merkur“ as a little boy; along with Albert Fert from France, he received a Nobel Prize in 2007 for the discovery of giant magnetoresistance, essential for the development of gigabyte hard disk drives. Grünberg's research has had a lasting impact on people around the world – just like hydrogel contact lenses, the first of which were produced by the Czech scientist Otto Wichterle (1913-1998) on an apparatus he built at home using a Merkur set and a bicycle dynamo borrowed from his sons.

The project presented at schools in the Şamaxı region follows up on the successful „Energy Efficient School“ project whereby the school in Qaravəlli underwent reconstruction in cooperation with a consortium of Czech companies. By using „Merkur“ construction sets in the education process, schools in Muğanlı, Qaravəlli, Meysəri, Əngəxaran and Qızmeydan can serve as a model for other schools in Azerbaijan of how to modernise the teaching process with the help of Czech technologies. By evaluating the project in cooperation with the involved teachers and experts from the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the „Merkur Toys“ company, the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Baku would like to help responsible Czech authorities to better focus future projects aimed at the achievement of Quality education – the 4th of the Sustainable Development Goals – around the world.

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Merkur 2019