A discussion devoted to World Teachers’ Day was held at Media Center entitled “Public Perception of Teacher’s Role and Current Problems in Public Education System” attended by Ara Atayan, Arevik Anapiosyan, Executive Director at Institute of Public Policy, Mariam Mkrtchyan, Deputy Director of Professional Education Assistance at Yerevan No. 189 School, Armenian Language and Literature Teacher, Siranush Khlghatyan, Chairman of Shengavit Branch Union of Professional Organizations of Institutions of Higher Education in Armenia, Elen Manaseryan, Lawyer at Republican Branch Union of Professional Organizations of Institutions of Higher Education in Armenia.
Siranush Khlghatyan emphasizes that the teacher has been and remains in his position. “I want all the changes to have a positive impact, as there are a number of issues for the teacher. But they do not find their solution specifically. There are salary, hourly rate, and finally the teacher's reputation. If the school is funded per the number of students, it allows the student to play a more important role.”
Speaking about the school optimization program, Arevik Anapiosyan notes that they would conduct monitoring to find out whether the optimization is another technical change, or it will contribute to improving the quality of education.
“There are two important principles in developing an education policy that should be taken into account. First, do we make that reform for improving the content of education and the quality of education, or do we do that because we have a problem with resources, such as financial resources,” she said.
Arevik Anapiosyan considers a reduction in funding for education a big problem. She underlines that it is possible to bring funds from other spheres and to increase the funding of education, where it will be possible to raise teachers' salaries.
Experts emphasize the role of the teacher in the development of a democratic society.
Touching upon the topic of teachers’ professional development and retraining, Mariam Mkrtchyan notes that training is needed especially for high school teachers where pupils with professional orientation come and it is not enough to transfer knowledge in the form of a lecture or textbooks.
Continuing the topic, Ara Atayan says that it is important to highlight who the trainer is, what the training material is and the purpose of the training.
Arevik Anapiosyan is skeptical about trainings because she thinks that training cannot give deep knowledge but she notes that fundamental change in ideology and philosophy of trainers is one of the options for quality enhancement in the field of education.
During the discussion, the topic of the teachers' rights violations was also referred.
Elen Manaseryan listed a number of issues, which teachers, as well as school principals, address them but she also expressed concern. “When it comes to the fact that the complaints are filed in written form, they refuse. We also apply to employers to organize the work within the law. The type of employment contracts is important. Every year, a new employment contract is signed with most teachers, which is a violation of the Labor Code.” Teachers' illegal exemptions are also a serious problem. “When the teacher writes a dismissal letter to the employer after the conflict, then he complains to us, we cannot do anything. Pressure is not an excuse to write a dismissal letter, and then say “I'm illegally released” is not normal. This means that teachers should have not only professional development but their legal awareness should be raised.”