Twelve-Year Education: High Quality and Not Compulsory
The introduction of universal 12-year school education in Armenia aims to improve the education system at Armenian schools. Investments and large-scale changes will prompt the system to work, say education experts.

Following the hot discussions at the National Assembly, law makers adopted amendments to the laws on education and general education, fixing 12-year school education as compulsory from 2017.

At the Media Center hosted discussion Ruzanna Muradyan, MP at the National Assembly, Science and Education Committee Standing Committee, said the current 9-year system fails to ensure the required high level of school education for children to specialize at higher education institutions later. Referring to the Armenian Constitution, Muradyan commented: “As Article 39 specifies, the required education level may rise.” Presently, the Constitution of the country does not include any requirement to obligatorily raise the level of education.

Muradyan agrees that over next two years it is crucial to implement a number of changes in the education system, eliminate program inconsistencies and develop new programs to carry out the proper legislative changes.

Anahit Bakhshyan, deputy director of the National Education Institute, welcomed the adoption of the law on 12-year education. The education system at high schools, however, is a major concern to her. “It is good that the young will be involved in the education process till the age of 19. But this law brings about serious obligations for the authorities since they now must invest in education.” The education will not be interrupted for male students who will be drafted only after graduating from high schools.

Education expert Serob Khachatryan described the “compulsory” term in the education system as unacceptable. “Education must motivate students to become part of the whole process as such. Otherwise, it will hardly be efficient,” Khachatryan said.

Meanwhile, children in rural areas will have to cope with a number of problems, the expert believes, such as the transport. “How can a child living in a village – with no transport – get to the regional center to attend a high school or college?” wondered Khachatryan.

Armine Davtyan, education expert, teacher, urged the authorities to improve the quality of the present education system: “We must define how great the public demand is and develop the strategies. Otherwise it seems impossible to set the bar fairly high.”

Serob Khachatryan said instead of investing in the 12-year education, three other fields might be prioritized. “Preschool education must become compulsory because it is the basis for next primary and secondary degrees. Yet, there is an estimated 30 percent attendance at kindergartens. Secondly, financial resources must be allocated for teachers to conduct additional classes with students who don’t keep up with their classmates. And finally, the Government must refund tuitions of students who have high scores but do not have enough money to study at higher educational institutions,” Khachatryan said. 

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