Education in Armenia
Published by UNESCO "UNION NACIONAL DE EDUCACION SUPERIOR CONTINUA ORGANIZADA"
"NATIONAL UNION OF CONTINUOUS ORGANIZED HIGHER EDUCATION"
In our days, the existing educational system, namely general primary-secondary education and diversified professional education, Higher Educational as well as Scientific Institutions have enabled Armenia to develop engineering and machine-tool industries, electronics and radio electronics, power engineering and nuclear energy, biotechnology, astrophysics, chemical and light industries.
During the last 5-6 years, Armenia, with its 1500 years old history of education, has faced a problem of development of the national school and creating its peculiar system of education.
Our republic, which has limited natural resources, on its way to the XXI Century can have considerable achievements only by developing the scientific sphere. With this aim in view, education acquires a special significance.
The system of education of the Republic of Armenia includes pre-school, general secondary, special secondary, vocational (professional-technical), higher and post-graduate education.
Pre-school education will be realized through a network of establishments of different kinds of ownership, by contributing to the normal growth of children, to revealing their capabilities and shaping corresponding skills to communicate with others.
According to the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia the secondary Education is compulsory and free of charge. Secondary Education in the republic contains 3 levels. Duration of study in secondary schools is 10 years.
The first level is Elementary School (1-3 grades). The basic goal of this level is to provide literacy for pupils.
The second level is Basic School (4-8 grades). The goal of secondary schools is implementation of general education. Students, who accomplish 8 grade, obtain the certificate of 8-year education (incomplete secondary education) and they can continue their study in the high school as well as in specialized secondary and technical secondary educational institutions.
The third level is High school (9-10 grades). The high school offers complete secondary education, which is realized in the following forms:
Graduate students of the high school obtain certificate of complete secondary education, which is called Attestat/Certificate of maturity "Hasunutian Vkaiakan" and can continue their study in the Higher educational institutions.
There are 1418 secondary schools, 1 gymnasium, 1 lyceum, 25 state colleges, 4 academic schools, 11 private high schools, 15 private schools. There are deepened study forms in 197 high schools-colleges (74 -humanitarian, 68 - physics-mathematics, 53 - natural sciences, 22 economics) in the Republic of Armenia.
The admission into the specialized and technical secondary educational institutions is possible on the basis of 8-year or 10-year secondary education. After graduation of courses, defense of diploma research work and passing of state examinations in the specialized secondary educational institutions students earn the "technician" or other appropriate qualification, in colleges - "junior specialist" (for example: junior engineer and etc.)
There are both state and private institutions of higher education. There are 15 (21 with branches) state higher educational institutions in Armenia. There are close to 75 private universities. As there is no law on education in Armenia the Ministry of Education is the sole body for issuing accreditation to the institutions.
All the state institutions are accredited. However there isn't a clearly defined mechanism for the accreditation of the private institutions. A private institution gets first of all registered with the Ministry of Education or any other Ministry depending upon the type of institution (e.g. A school dealing with medicine would get registered with the Ministry of Health). Then the school gets reviewed by a committee from the Ministry with which it is registered. The committee reviews the building where the school is located, the facilities, academic plans, teachers (most of the teachers in the private institutions also teach in the State ones), sanitary-hygienic conditions. IF the institution complies with all the necessary conditions set forth by the committee then it is given the license for functioning and can already admit students.
However for getting a final accreditation the institution should be functioning at least 5 years, should have a certain number of teachers with PHD-s. Their graduates should have a minimum of the required knowledge and a certain number of them should find jobs upon completion of the institute. Yet because of the absence of the law on education it is not clearly defined which body is to check all these criteria and the compliance to them. Hence most of the private institutions have just a license to function.
The admission into the higher educational institutions is being conducted on the base of 10-year education certificate and results of admission examinations. There is 20-marks assessment system in use (8 and more marks are positive).
Higher educational institutions in Armenia have three-level structure.
First level (baccalaureate) includes 4 year-study in institutions (Universities). The main objective is to acquire general knowledge in subjects of specialty as well as to get acquainted with economics, history, philosophy, law, medicine and other subjects. Upon completion of the 4 year institution "Bakalavri kochum" that is Bachelor's degree is awarded. The "Diplom" is awarded if it is a five year institution.
Second level (magistracy) includes next 2 years of study. The objective is to acquire deepened knowledge in specialization subjects, to study additional specialization subjects. It can be either a one-year or a 2-year program. In both cases the student is awarded the Master's degree which in Armenian sounds "Magistrosi kochum" The Master's degree in Armenia is awarded only in the state institutions, the only exception is the American University of Armenia, which is a joint venture sponsored by the Diaspora Armenia foundations. However the degree of this institution (which is a campus of the UCLA) is recognized by the Republic of Armenia and is one of the best degrees in the Republic.
Third level ("aspirantura" - post-graduate studentship) continues 2 years. Students acquire necessary knowledge in order to conduct scientific-research work. After completion of this level and defending the dissertation the students are awarded the "Candidate of Science" degree or in Armenian "Gitutiunneri Teknatsu"
After aspirantura and getting the Candidate of Science degree the researchers can do their doctoral studies in one of the research institutions of the Academy of Science of Armenia. Unlike the US system the doctoral studies do not imply taking any courses but it is mostly related to independent research work leading to the defense of a Doctoral dissertation. The dissertation is defended in front of the Highest Attestation Commission, an independent body comprised of Doctors, academicians and professors in the field.
As it can be deduced from the above mentioned there still exists a division between the "Candidate of Science" and "Doctor of Science" in Armenia. However the difference is that the "Candidate of Science" "Gitutiunneri teknatsu" can be obtained in the State institutions of higher education as well as in the research institutions pertaining to the system of the Academy of science. Whereas the Doctor of science "Gitutiunneri Doctor", can be obtained only through the Academy of Science research institutions.
Nowadays, there are 34,701 students at the Higher Education Institutions in Armenia. Both free of charge and paid higher education is available in Armenia. For 19,164 students the education is free of charge (Governmental budget), and for 15,537 students the education is paid. In 1997-98 academic year the cost for study is 200,000 - 800,000 Armenian drams ($1 = 500 AMD). The financial sources of Education are coming from i. Governmental Budget, ii. Private sourses.
During the last 10 years more than 2000 foreign students have graduated Armenian higher educational institutions and successfully apply their knowledge in the USA, Canada, Latin America, Europe and Asia.