The Impact of the Funded Pension Reform on Education and Science
The pension reform bill enacted on July 1 this year sparked complaints among young lecturers and researchers.
According to the data Armen Ashotyan, Minister of Education and Science, published on November 12, 120 young lecturers and researchers out of 470 have already resigned․The other 350 are expecting the problem to be resolved soon.
The indignation is aroused by the interim provisions of the pension reform according to which public sector workers born after January 1, 1974 cannot waive the obligation of making pension contributions.

Therefore, persons working simultaneously in the private sector and public sector have to make contributions to their pension from both salaries, as provided by the law.

A great number of young lecturers and researchers who work simultaneously in the private and public sectors are against this law and demand that the Government should make appropriate changes.

“From the Institute of Informatics only 10 specialists have quitted their jobs this year,” said Grigor Petrosyan, former researcher of Institute for Informatics and Automation Problems of the National Academy of Sciences, at the Media Center hosted panel discussion today.

Grigor Petrosyan has had to leave his job at the Institute for Informatics and Automation Problems where he worked as a researcher for almost 10 years.

At the panel discussion initiated by the Institute of War and Peace Reporting Armenia Branch, in cooperation with the Media Center Project of the Public Journalism Club, the panelists included: Artsvik Minasyan, Member of Parliament, ARF Faction; Grigor Petrosyan, former researcher of the Institute for Informatics and Automation Problems of the National Academy of Sciences; Vahagn Dallakyan,  lecturer atthe Department of Law at Yerevan State University; and Arsen Manukyan, member of   “D!em em” Civic Initiative.

Artsvik Minasyan considers that this law obliges the young people to make a contribution which is unconstitutional and illogical.

Vahagn Dallakyan believes the negative consequences of the interim provisions to have already occurred.

“The young lecturers preferred to leave their jobs at the beginning of the academic year rather than in the middle of it so as not to interfere with the education process. In this regard, any delay of the solution increases the negative effect,” said Vahagn Dallakyan.

As provided by the law, a person can waive the obligation of making pension contributions till December 25, 2014.

Artsvik Minasyan thinks that till the end of the year the Government will provide the technical solution to this issue.

“But the technical solution is short-term and may cause new subsequent problems if there is no revision of the law. Even if the Government manages to make the technical change till December 25 enabling lecturers and researchers to work in the public and private sectors without pension deductions, the main problem will not be solved,” said Artsvik Minasyan.

Arsen Manukyan mentioned that science jobs are not attractive for young people as in a private organization they can get a higher salary. As a result, the average age of lecturers has increased steadily.

“Why did the Prime Minister lavish words? He turned out to promise that the problems would be solved only for his PR and he even announced that he had given the appropriate instructions. Yet, nothing has changed and there is no result. The Minister of Education and Science urges not to write resignation letters and wait. But how long should they wait? Should they wait only to get apologies after December 25? The Government’s such approach to problems has already become a model,” said Arsen Manukyan.

It should be noted that in September this year a number of young lecturers filed a letter to Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan requesting for a solution. The Prime Minister assigned the Ministry of Finance to take steps for solving the problem of young lecturers but so far no practical measures have been taken.

However, Vahagn Dallakyan expects the Government to find a solution to the given problem.

“I am positive that this problem (the problem of young lecturers and researchers working simultaneously in public and private sectors without funded pension deductions) will be solved. There was a political statement by the Prime Minister,” said Vahagn Dallakyan.

Artsvik Minasyan added that the problem refers not only to education and science but other fields as well.

“Having a good pension system is everybody’s concern and we must unite. The Government is to make an amendment to the law. An amendment is a must and they should make that amendment,” said Artsvik Minasyan.

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