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Official News

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

“Our task is to have a modern and quality education system” - Karen Karapetyan Visits Ministry of Education and Science

Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan visited the Ministry of Education and Science to get acquainted with the activities and priorities completed in 2017, as well as the tasks set for 2018.

Minister of Education and Science Levon Mkrtchyan reported that the Ministry’s activity was aimed at improving the quality and accessibility of education through updated content and methods, strengthened legal framework and increased efficiency of management.

The draft law of the Republic of Armenia “On Approval of State Program for Development of Education in the Republic of Armenia until 2030” was elaborated to outline the development vectors in the field of education, which will be submitted for approval to the National Assembly.

“The most important point is that during the year we were able to map our entire package in the form of conceptual and concrete actions. Our Action Plan up to the year 2030 has a conceptual aspect, but more important was the Annex II, by which we tried to implement a scheduled mapping for each issue and distribute the tasks for at least the next 2-3 years,” Minister Levon Mkrtchyan said.

In this regard, the role of the National Institute of Education was highlighted, the activities of which are aimed at elaborating reforms and presenting professional development perspectives. A new teacher training and grading system was introduced in 2017. As a result, about 7,000 teachers were trained; 500 teachers were granted the title of first-grade teacher, and 30 teachers – the second-grade after attestation. Aimed at raising teachers’ professionalism, the program is implemented in cooperation with the World Bank.

It was reported that the Araratian Bachelor’s program has already been implemented in 11 schools in Marzes and Artsakh. The concept of the technology university is being developed; talks are underway to that effect with donors and international organizations. A total of USD 18 million was invested in educational programs nationwide.

“Our task is to have a modern and quality education system so that our citizens can get a good education at an ordinary school. To motivate the system, we need to have model schools,” the Premier said, adding that they can become the locomotive of the schooling system. Minister Mkrtchyan advised that steps have already been taken in that direction.

It was reported that some educational programs had been reconsidered to incorporate elements of entrepreneurship and financial education. 13 pilot programs were introduced in September, 2017: Mathematics, Algebra, Me and the Outer World, as well as Social Science with the introduction of financial education elements. For the purpose of introducing entrepreneurial education, the Technology subject was introduced with the introduction of entrepreneurial elements in 2nd and 3rd grades of 1247 schools. A pilot project was introduced in the 10th grade of 227 schools, with a focus on entrepreneurship. It is envisaged to apply this practice nationwide by 2019.

In response to the Prime Minister’s question, the Minister said that refresher courses had been organized for teachers specialized in specific subjects.

It was reported that the third foreign language was introduced as a mandatory subject in 70 percent of schools in 2017; pilot programs have already been initiated in different communities with foreign language oriented schools.

“We, the Armenians, are doomed to learning three languages. If we fail to speak three languages, we will lag behind, we will not be able to translate philosophy and physics books into Armenian, while the world is changing so rapidly today,” Karen Karapetyan emphasized and instructed to develop a new foreign language teaching methodology.

The Prime Minister attached importance to the teaching of physical culture in schools and encouraged to be consistent in that direction. A draft government protocol decision has been developed, referred to as “On approving the program of alternative, cost-effective models for pre-school education.” The ordinance of the Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Armenia “On approving the model payroll, group density, norms and standards in community-based public preschool educational institutions” has been revised. As a result, 122 million drams will be saved up.

At the same time, it was reported that as a result of optimization AMD 266 million was economized in 2017. 15 schools were optimized, and 24377 thousand square meters have been spared. The optimization program will be continued in 2018.

“We are not pursuing the simple goal of saving space; we seek to create a sound educational system in order not to waste money,” Karen Karapetyan underscored.

The responsible officers informed that a draft law “On higher education” has been prepared. The higher education development strategy is being drafted at this point of time. Compensation for tuition fees is regularly paid to students from vulnerable households at the rate of 50-100%.

The new law will streamline the functions of universities’ management and scientific boards, the number of governing council members will be reduced, persons holding political posts will be precluded from holding posts in HEIs (higher education institutions), an age limit will be prescribed for administrative and professorial positions, a rector accountability system will be introduced, the student financing system will become more targeted and, finally, the level of cooperation between universities and the labor market will be enhanced. During the consultation, the speakers touched upon the current status of science, existing problems and opportunities.

Mindful of the need to promote research and development in the country, Karen Karapetyan stressed that he looked forward to being submitted a clear program that would outline the development prospects of different branches of science, account taken of their practical significance and effectiveness.

May 2020