“Current state and perspectives for education financing in Armenia”
At the press release on “Current state and perspectives for education financing in Armenia” hosted by the Media Center on March 7, PhD in Economics and Associate Professor Artak Manukyan presented the findings of the study on educational expenses in recent years by the National Center of Public Policy Research NGO and touched upon education financing issues.

By presenting the findings of the study, the economist points out that the scope of educational services in RA widens year by year by around 5% annually, but the share of educational services in the general services sector declines every year.

The expert draws attention to the fact that like any other sector, educational services in the country lack balanced development and provision of educational services is concentrated primarily in Yerevan.

"The share of 10 regions (marzes) in educational services does not exceed 16% and this trend has been maintained since 2003," Artak Manukyan says.

By presenting the share of education allocations in the state budget and comparing it with that in developed countries, the economist is concerned that Armenia is very behind in this respect.

"Since 2006, the share of education allocations in the state budget expenditure has seen stable trends of decline and has ranged within 8-9% in the recent years, which is much lower than in most developed and even developing economies. The ratio of the education expenditures from the state budget to the GDP is also too low, an average of 2.4% in recent years."

Comparing the education and police expenses since 2008, the economist says: "If education prevailed, the educated citizen would prevail, followed by educated citizen + police officer, rescuer, judge, etc. In 2008, the state budget allocated to education 103.5 billion AMD and to the police 20.4 billion AMD. After re-election of the president in 2013, the budgetary funds allocated to the police rose sharply. As a result, in 2008-2018 the state budget allocations to education expenditure rose by around 23% (from 103.5 to 127.2 billion AMD) and those to the police doubled."

At the same time, the speaker highlights the need for a cost-efficiency assessment system as it is currently impossible to objectively assess to what extent the funds spent on education serve their aim.

"There is no assessment system to determine cost-efficiency. There is no initial indicator for persons responsible for education to measure education cost-efficiency. A financial efficiency assessment indicator should be introduced that will make it possible for us to measure the extent to which such strategy put forward by the officials is effective and inclusive for the economy and the nation."

In the cost-efficiency context, A. Manukyan highlights the need to ensure transparency in public procurement by stressing that the current electronic system introduced and so much advertized by the government does not function efficiently as it lacks a number of statements, including those of educational institutions. The expert expressed an opinion that this also carries big corruption risks.

Derenik Malkhasyan, Media Center Project Editor/Coordinator

To contact the author, please email him: derenikmalkhasian@gmail.com

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