Accessible Education in Armenia Is not Proportional
02.10.2014
13:00
The Armenian educational system has serious problems, especially in the regions. Migration and a decrease in birth rate led to a severe decline in the number of students in rural schools. As a result, multi-level schools are created during which, a single teacher has to teach first, fifth, third and sometimes fourth and fifth grades all at once. “This violates a child's right to high quality education,” believes Mesrop Ghalachyan, head of Shirak Branch of the National Institute of Education.

At Asparez Journalists’ Club, Gyumri, the Media Center, in cooperation with Sakharov Foundation held a panel discussion featuring the current issues of Armenia’s education system, specifically its drawbacks revealed during the amendment period and expectations.

The panelists included Karen Melkonyan, Head of Teachers Professional Development and Training Subcomponent of the Center for Education Project; Mesrop Ghalachyan, head of Shirak Branch of the National Institute of Education; Serob Khachatryan, education expert, PhD at YSU, and Nune Davtyan, representative of “Center for Education Projects”.

Establishment of separate high schools in a country as Armenia was an unnecessary luxury.

Serob Khachatryan believes establishment of separate high schools in Armenia is not a necessity. “Of course there are reforms that are unavoidable, such as the transition to 12-year education, specialization of teachers but, in my opinion, the creation of separate high schools in a country like Armenia was an unnecessary luxury,” said Khachatryan. “Financial resources allocated to education in Armenia make about 2.5 percent of gross domestic product whereas in the world an average of four percent is allotted and there are only several countries where up to 7 percent is allocated to education.”

“What we have today in Armenia is more selective education than general education,” said Khachatryan. “Children of upper class families gather in certain schools with high quality accommodations and facilities while others go to simple public schools.”

Educational issues do not evolve from improvements

Nune Davtyan believes that the current general education problems do not evolve from education reforms but political, economic, social issues.

“In 2008 the concept was not adopted. Because of personal interests a policy changing decision was not made. As a result, high schools were established in such localities where more than one school operated, with rural areas having primary and secondary schools regardless the number of teachers and students. Nune Davtyan and Karen Melkonyan agreed that that is too early to speak about the efficiency of high schools. There are a number of problems with respect to teacher training at universities, proper use of financial resources, maintenance of border settlements through schools through and other issues which are all intertwined, according to Melkonyan. “National security, social protection and education issues are intertwined. No school, No village.”

Quality education is a must to overcome poverty.

The school shapes a society, a society shapes the school.

The school is a mirror of any society, thus, it is vital to thoroughly evaluate the situation. The solution to these problems is more active public participation. Such views were expressed at the discussion attended by representatives of high schools and Gyumri-based non-governmental organizations.

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