Education Armenia

        

                                                                                                                                                                         
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Education has always been prioritized in Armenia - in a country, which has 1600 years old history of literacy. From the very beginning, the school has been the basis of the nation's political and cultural survival and the incentive for national progress.

The current education network has been established during the short existence of the first Republic in Armenia in (1918 –1920). It has further developed during the years of Soviet Power (1920 – 1990).

Education in Armenia has traditionally been highly rated. Today as well, the most important national issue is considered the maintenance and development of education system, insuring its compatibility in the international environment. This can be proved by the laws and decrees issued after declaring independence.

Article 35 of the Republic of Armenia (RA) Constitution adopted in 1995 claims that all RA citizens have the right to education; the secondary education in public schools is free; and every citizen has the right to get higher or other professional education on competitive basis.

On April 14, 1999, the National Assembly adopted RA “Law About Education”, which gave a definite direction to the development of reforming system based on the constitution principles. However, depending on education priorities, it is being adjusted and amended from time to time.

In May 2000, RA Government Decree approved the national standards for general education, according to which actually the education quality in national school is controlled. The “National Plan for Education Development 2001 – 2005 was approved by the parliament in June 2001, the main goal of which is to ensure education progressive development, for it is the decisive factor for statehood enforcement and socio-economic development of the society.

Besides, a series of legal norms and regulations have been adopted, that regulate the legal issues. Nevertheless, adoption of laws during the recent three years cannot smoothly ensure the development of education system. The inadequate quality of enforcement of laws and regulations, the absence of really operating mechanisms for right protection for those involved in education, as well as the financial, institutional and human resource, and content issues that are seeking for resolution, hinder with the natural development of the education network.

STRUCTURE OF THE EDUCATION SYSTEM

The education network includes:

· the complex of different level and orientation education programmers that ensure education continuity in compliance to the national standards,

· the network of different types of education institutions that implement the above programmers,

· the education management system including all the institutions and enterprises under the umbrella of the managing agency.

The education system in Armenia represents a regular incessant wholeness of institutions and enterprises, the main components of which are; the preschool education for the children at the age of 3-6; general secondary education comprising the primary school (grades 1-3), middle or basic school (grades 4-9): and the high school (grades 10-11); also the specialized, vocational and higher education; teacher training and retraining institutions. The graduates of basic and high school have the right to continue their education in vocational or higher education institutions. The structure of the education system in the Republic and the links between its institutions is presented in Annex 1.

 

Besides there are also non state sector education institutions: schools, colleges and universities, that not only ensure the existence of the market of education services in the education system, but also bring a substantial contribution into the development of the education system.

PRESCHOOL EDUCATION

The main goals of preschool education are: establishment of basis for the child's physical, moral and mental development; development of communication skills in mother language and ensuring the capability for studying foreign languages based on the obtained skills of the mother language; development of basic counting skills; develop basic behavioral skills; develop knowledge about the surrounding nature and environment; getting to know the elements of own history and culture; develop love and devotion towards the motherland; develop primary operation skills and capabilities; preparation for school studies.

The main role in pre-primary education the government prescribes to the family, and takes up the obligation for ensuring adequate conditions in the family for providing child comprehensive development and care. The state establishes preschool institutions: day care (for children from 2 to 3); kindergartens (for children from 3 to 6); or the combination of the above two.

The preschool education network is currently presented by 663 community based kindergartens and 18 under the umbrella of the ministry, with an enrollment of 44849, out of which 22488 female.

There are also 15 non-state sector kindergartens.

The number of preschool institutions is reduced by 47% as compared to 1991. The enrollment is also considerably reduced. In 1991, the number of children attending kindergarten was 143900. In 2002, the overall kindergarten enrollment was 44849. This means that during eleven years the enrollment is reduced by 69 %. That is the result of birth rate reduction, hardships and economic difficulties, large scale of migration, lower quality of preschool services and their accessibility.

12140 educators work in the preschool institutions, out of which 44, 5% are graduates of pedagogical universities.

In 1996, the ownership of the state owned preschool institutions was transferred to the local government – communities, and currently they get funding only from the community budgets. This had a negative impact upon the preschool institution operation, and many of them were simply closed down.

The basic issue in the current preschool institutions is the shortage of funding, which results not only in low salary rates for the educators, but also makes impossible the replacement of the worn out furniture by new one. A separate issue is the general organization of an operating preschool institution in a rural area, because in many villages they simply do not function due to difficult economic conditions.

Whereas the studies show that, the preschool education has a decisive impact upon the mental development of the child, and upon the formation of a citizen as a full member of the society.

RA Ministry of Education and Science prioritize the development and implementation of a comprehensive programmed for preschool childcare, education and development.

GENERAL EDUCATION

The goal of general education is to create favorable conditions for development of the mental, psychological and physical capabilities of the citizens.

The main challenges for achieving this goal in general education are: to enable the students perceive basic knowledge about nature, society, technology, industry and environment; to create adequate conditions to pursue self-education and self-development of the students in a continuity ensuring education system; to develop an individual equipped with the knowledge of national and international values, an heir of the cultural, moral and psychological values, who can develop a functioning political position.

The secondary (complete) general education is implemented in a threefold secondary 11 years general school including the following levels:

•  primary school (grades 1-3),

•  basic school (grades 4-9),

•  high school (grades 10-11).

There are 1392 state owned general schools operating in RA, out of which 17 are primary schools, 146 are basic schools (8 years) and 1171 are secondary schools. 58 schools among the high schools have the status of a college, 54276 teaching staff works in general schools and 83% of them are women.

The teacher/student ratio currently is 1/10 in the Republic, and the administrative staff/student ratio is 1/20, which is a low ratio against the indicators of developing countries.

72.7% of the teaching staff are graduates of the universities, 17,8% are graduates of pedagogical colleges, 1,3% are with non-complete higher education, 4,7% are graduates of non-pedagogical universities and 3,4% are graduates of other colleges.

The teachers' salaries have decreased 14 times against the indicator of 1991. However it is a bit higher than the average salaries of staff in other state funded institutions. The general education is mainly funded by the national budget.

Besides the state owned schools, 31 non-state schools are currently functioning with an enrollment of 2500 students and 555 teaching staff. The non-state education institutions do not receive allocations from the national budget.

GENERAL EDUCATION REFORMS

The general education now experiences ongoing reforms, which involves all the aspects of the sphere: the structure, content, management, finance, etc. All available funds – both the budget and out of budget facilities (All Armenian Foundation “Hayastan”, Social Investment Fund of Armenia) and the projects of several international and national organizations are directed to reforms.

Within the general reform implementation the World Bank Credit funded “Education Finance and Management Reform” project is highly prioritized. It was implemented all through 1997–2002 and had two main directions in strategy:

 

content aspect – targeted to the improvement of the general education content development and compliance to the current needs of the society. It includes curriculum revision by disciplines, textbook publishing and distribution, textbook provision to all the students, etc.

 

structural aspect – targeted to the decentralization issues of education management and increase in institution autonomy. This includes introduction of new mechanisms in general education finance and management, revision of the organizational and legal status of the institutions, top management performance quality increase, etc.

TEXTBOOK GENERATING ACTIVITIES

The priority issue among the school difficulties during the years after establishing independent statehood in the Republic of Armenia was the issue of school textbooks. All through 70 years during the Soviet Power the textbooks used in the schools of Armenia were those translated from Russian that had become exhausted both physically and morally during the transition period. The issue of textbook provision to students had become more acute because of drastic decrease in education funding, which resulted in absence of facilities for textbook publication.

 

The textbook provision and new textbook creation issues were resolved within the framework “Education Finance and Management Reform” credit project 1997-2001.

 

The following goals and objectives have been set up in 1997 while designing the textbook project:

provide every student of the Republic of Armenia with textbooks,

· improve the general education curriculum, core textbooks and teachers' manuals so that they meet the contemporary needs, at the same time improving their production quality and reducing their costs for parents,

· establish a sustainable textbook publishing system based on real demand,

· ensure the further textbook publication cost recovering and establish a self-financing textbook generating sustainable system,

· eliminate the state monopoly of textbook publication by assisting free market relationships and competition,

· contribute in developing national school of textbooks.

112 titles of textbooks and 47 titles of teachers' manuals were published and distributed to schools all through 1997 –2002. The currently functioning textbook rental scheme was introduced in 1997, the goal of which is provision of core textbooks approved by the Ministry of Education and Science through renting. In addition, the “Textbook Revolving Fund” (TRF) was created too for collection and supervision of textbook rental fees, also for organizing further textbook publication based on the school demand. Already in 2001 the required textbooks were published through TRF utilizing the school resources.

The following achievements in textbook publishing and distribution need to be especially specified:

· Each and every student in the Republic of Armenia is provided with all the core textbooks designed by the state curriculum. Currently the basic issue of provision of textbooks to each student in Armenia is resolved.

· The textbook production quality in Armenia experienced an unprecedented progress. The new textbooks are colorful, the graphic design is interesting and the books have high printing quality. They completely comply with the internationally accepted publishing and printing standards.

· During the four years of the project textbook generating capacity is built, in the country, which improves year after year, and textbook developing teams are continuously created. Armenian specialists write not only textbooks of Armenian language, literature or history of Armenia , they also create textbooks on natural and social sciences based on the peculiarities of the Armenian child. Due to the competitive basis of textbook selection the state monopoly on textbook publishing is eliminated. When during the Soviet year's publisher “Luis” had the monopoly, now many Armenian publishers are involved in this business, majority of them being newly created.

· 10% of the children who come from socially vulnerable families are provided with free textbooks.

· The textbook rental scheme has successfully been operating during the three years of its existence. Textbook revolving fund has accumulated, which is the 85% of the expected level of return. Such a rate of return is unique and has no precedence not only among the other former Soviet Union Republics , but also almost in the whole world. The accumulated funds made possible to provide long-term solution to the textbook financing issue.

GENERAL EDUCATION FINANCE AND

MANAGEMENT REFORMS

Since 1998 finance and management reform takes place in the schools of the Republic which as mentioned above, was assisted by the “Education Management and Finance Reform” Credit facilities. The reforms include increase of autonomy institutions, management decentralization, introduction of new mechanisms for management and financing, and other processes.

The new management system implies school management through boards comprising school teaching staff, representatives of school councils, community members, representatives appointed by the top management. The school financing new mechanism implies transition from the per article funding system to the per capita funding system, in lump sum, and to new autonomous manner of accounting and budgeting.

The general education management and finance reform started by a pilot project in 1998 that ended in 2001. The assessment and conclusion of the pilot reform project showed that the main directions of reforms were correctly chosen. It is also recorded in the “Government program of the Development of Education 2001 – 2005” according which it is envisaged that by the year 2005 all the general education institutions in the Republic should transfer to this new way of financing and management and 250 –300 schools will be included in the process each year.

700 schools in the republic have currently transferred to the new management system. School directors, board members and the school accountants were trained to ensure the process of transfer to the self-management and increase of school autonomy. For this purpose in 1998 about 30 trainers were selected, who conducted further training during the following. International consultants have trained the trainers' group and assisted in developing the training materials – modules. The concerning materials consist of three sections: legislation sector, director as a school manager and director as a leader.

700 school directors, 4000 board members and 250 school accountants are already trained. The assessment carried out during the training courses shows that in almost all the schools the most active members in school boards are the parents and the teachers. The boards chaired by parents or teachers are significantly more efficient in acting. Beside the mentioned training course, the director, board members and accountant participate in a very important two-day training course, where they discuss and learn their rights and responsibilities. Despite the fact that for full decentralization a considerably more time is needed, it should be mentioned that since 1998 the board activities have become more efficient however.

In the framework of the Credit project Education Management Information System (EMIS) was introduced through a united computerized information system. The detailed description for EMIS goals, objectives and the process, as well as the main statistic data for the general education system for the school year 2002-2003 and its analysis is presented in Annex 3.

The works for creation EMIS started in January 1999. The established network includes the relevant departments of the Ministry of Education and Science, the Marz Education Departments and the Center for Education Projects, where the EMIS center is placed. A reporting form called “About General Education Institutions Activity” is developed which collects complete information about the activities of each schools in Armenia . An EMIS database is created which ensures the date entries, maintenance, processing, utilization and analysis by years. The Republic level database is unified and analyzed in the EMIS center, and on the marz level it is done in Marz centers.

The “School Improvement Programmed” (SIP) implemented within the framework of “Education Financing and Management Reform” project played an important role in establishing school financial independence, generating out of budget funds for the school, school internal management improvement, community members and parent involvement in school management issues. SIP role is also great in promoting out of school activities.

SIP has executed the school micro project financing on competitive basis.

774 schools of the Republic participated in the competition during the 1998 - 2000. 530 schools were selected, out of which 312 were granted different size funding (2000-10000 USD) and implemented various micro projects – agricultural, aesthetic, sport, computer skills and extension projects for different disciplines, etc.

The publication of series of periodic magazines and newsletters started again beginning from 1998 (“Naturalist”, “Mathematics at School”, “The Russian Language in Armenia ”, “Civic Education in School”, etc.).

More than 50 international and local NGOs (UNICEF, UNESCO, UNDP, USAID, TACIS, NRC, CRS, etc.) have considerably contributed in the area of introducing new disciplines, training teachers, introducing new teaching methods and techniques.

SPECIAL GENERAL EDUCATION

Orphanages and boarding institutions that implement general and special education programmers are created to ensure the education of children deprived of family care and children with special educational needs.

Presently 54 public boarding institutions are operating: among them 41 are for children with special education needs; 5 are for children deprived of family care or for children from socially vulnerable families; and 8 are for assisting the gifted children.

The total enrollment of the boarding institutions is 10820 children, 52% of which take a full board.

The number of boarding institutions has increased by 14, 8% as compared with the 1991 data, and the enrollment has increased by 21, 4%. The enrollment in these institutions increases year by year, mainly because more children come from socially vulnerable families.

There are not any private boarding institutions.

More efforts are made in the recent years to educate children with physical and mental disabilities in general schools, which will integrate them in the society. This also results from the general humanistic tendency in education and the society all over the world. It is envisaged to transfer the special education institutions to the new management and finance system as well.

The Ministry of Education and Science board decree approved the Reform Programmed of the “RA Education System Boarding Institutions” on June 13, 2003. According to the above-mentioned document the special education system reforms have the following directions:

•  institutional adjustment of the boarding institution network,

•  improvement of admission system to the boarding institutions,

•  decentralization of the services provided within the boarding institutions,

•  introduction of new management and financing system in the boarding institutions,

•  child care and education quality improvement in the boarding institutions,

The mentioned aspects are interrelated and complimentary. Efficient implementation of these aspects is possible only by gradual and complex implementation of required activities.

OUT OF SCHOOL EDUCATION

The aim of out of school education is to create conditions for developing the students' interest, ensure their psychological, aesthetic, physical development and provide environmental and practical knowledge by organizing their leisure time.

The out of school education system includes creative and aesthetic youth centers, musical schools and art schools, clubs and tourist camps for young naturalists, technologists, environmentalists and sports schools and resort camps, etc.

Currently there are 163 public and community out of school institutions with an enrollment of 63700 children. As compared to the level of 1991 the number of out of school institutions have reduced by 27% and enrollment has reduced by 58, 9%.

There is no comprehensive state policy in this area of education after the collapse of the Soviet Union . Current teenagers' organizations function by the sponsorship and leadership of different non-governmental institutions (church, parties, etc.).

Regulating and supervision of the out of school institutions activities are vital issues for organizing profound leisure time for the child.

PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION

The professional education programmers target to the qualified specialist training, development of corresponding capacity and skills, enhancement of knowledge and improvement of qualification through the continuity of general education and professional education levels.

Before 1990-1991 the professional education was free, however since 1992 the institutions providing professional education implement paid educational programs along with the state order, where educational institutions define the size of tuition fee independently. RA Government defines the number of free education places for each year, based on the demand of each category of specialists and the budget allocations for professional education. RA Ministry of Education and Science and line Ministries jointly define the number of paid education places for each year, based on the capacity of definite institution, availability of facilities, teaching staff, educational materials and literature, etc.

The admission into the professional educational institutions is performed through competition - students pass entrance examinations.

 

The main professional education programmers implemented in Armenia are:

1. preliminary professional education (or preliminary vocational education),

2. middle level professional vocational education,

3. higher professional education,

4. post graduate education.

PRELIMINARY PROFESSIONAL (OR VOCATIONAL) EDUCATION

The aim of preliminary professional education (or vocational education) is to train the students for jobs demanding primary professional qualification, on the basis of general education.

 

The technical professional education is provided on the basis of basic or secondary general education in technical colleges. The education period is from 1 or 3 year accordingly.

 

Currently the total enrollment of 12 colleges is 750 students.

The primary professional education network has undergone considerable changes since 1991 in terms of specialties as well, which is closely linked with the economic changes in the country. The professions related to the spheres of services, trade, and food industry is now weighted in the list of professions, while the number of students in the industry or construction sector has drastically decreased. There are no non-state sector technical colleges.

MIDDLE LEVEL PROFESSIONAL (OR VOCATIONAL) EDUCATION

The aim of middle level professional education is to train the students with middle professional qualification, on the basis of general secondary education, also to provide deeper and expanded professional knowledge.

Middle professional education is performed in middle professional education institutions: college and vocational schools.

 

Education in the middle professional education institutions is implemented on the basis of secondary general education in both ways – stationary and distant education. The length of education depending on the level of basic education of the students and the chosen profession is from 1 year and 10 months up to 4 years and 10 months. There are 130 professions taught in these institutions. The graduates are granted the qualification of junior specialist.

Currently 80 state middle professional education institutions are functioning (together with 1 branch) with an enrollment of 29500 students, and private ones. The number of state middle professional education institutions has increased by 15% and the number of students has reduced by 27, 3% against the level in 1991.

 

Nearly 4300 teaching staff is involved in middle professional education institutions, 70% of which are women.

 

4% of the total education budget is allocated for the middle professional education institutions.

 

Due to the reforms that took place in middle professional education a new list of professions is approved which includes 257 professions grouped in 28 professional groups; a new regulation was adopted for introducing paid education; RA Ministry of Education and Science approved the state standards for middle professional education, as well as the model charter for the middle professional education institutions.

HIGHER AND POSTGRADUATE PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION

Higher and postgraduate professional education is performed in three degrees: there are programmers for Bachelor degree, for the degree of a certified specialist and master's degree in both state and non-state education institutions, stationary and distant education forms, for paid and non-paid students. At post graduate courses there are masters and doctors' courses. The aim of higher education is to train and retrain highly qualified specialists, and to satisfy the individual's professional development demands.

16 state universities and 73 non-state universities, where 46100 and 18270 students study accordingly. 30 of the non-state universities provide certified professions. The number of state universities increased by 14.2% against the indicator in 1991; the number of students though has reduced by 40%. Nearly 36% of the total number of students is in non-paid sector. In 9 universities of the republic currently operate postgraduate courses and doctor's courses, and in 3 universities there are master classes, where 576 masters, 1196 postgraduate students and 28 PHD students study for free, and 1295 masters and 96 postgraduate students study as paid students.

The university teaching staff involves 5956 professors and lecturers; among them there are 672 professors, 1637 docents. The teaching staff has increased by 6 % as compared to the 1991 indicator. 28, 3% of the pedagogical staff are women. Professor/student ratio is 1/7 currently.

There are 3356 professors in the non-state universities.

The University student data is presented in Annex 4.

The average age of the pedagogical staff is 55 and of the scientists 60, which steadily tends to grow.

The university and postgraduate professional education budget allocation is almost the 12 percent of the education budget.

The reforms in higher and postgraduate professional education include the education structure, content and management. As an outcome result of the reforms three level programs were introduced in three universities in the Republic, with bachelor, masters and postgraduate programs.

New professions in the higher education are introduced; extension programs are added to the basic humanities (“rights”, “applied economy” and other alternative mandatory humanities are introduced); education is becoming more humanistic; universities are receiving more autonomy in management and finance.

RA Government has approved the standards for higher professional education. The private universities are regulated by the enforcement of licensing and accreditation procedures approved by the Government, which promotes competition in the sphere of higher education.

In the past all the instructors and professors of the professional education institutions were required to take a refreshment course at least once in five years on mandatory basis and in a centralized way. These courses ceased to exist since 1991 mainly because of lack of funding. The issue of professional development of the researcher and pedagogical staff is now left to the shoulders of institution and mostly to the staff itself.

EDUCATION SYSTEM MANAGEMENT

RAeducation management system has experienced frequent and not always justified institutional adjustments and human resource replacements during the last decade. The ministry has been reshaped several times; the middle management level has been reconstructed twice.

Finally the liabilities and responsibilities of the Government, Marz and Community level education authorities were defined in the “Law About Education” adopted in 1999.

The education system management is performed on three levels.

RA Ministry of Education and Science: develops the education development plan and the state education standards and controls their implementation; ensures the development and publication of general education curriculum and subject syllabi, provides textbooks and handbooks; provides state license and accreditation to education institutions; develops model charters for the state education institutions; approves the accreditation procedures for the pedagogical and managing staff in the education institutions; develops the list of specialization in universities; develops the state order state paid places for general, middle professional and higher professional education; approves the entrance examination guidelines and controls their implementation in state and licensed private middle and higher educational institutions; approves the procedures of student knowledge assessment; at transition from one level of education to the others; approves the honorary degrees and titles granted by the scientific councils of the licensed higher education institutions; develops the models of state graduation documentation at all the graduation levels; defines the guidelines for defining adequacy and acknowledgement of the foreign education graduation documentation; ensures the creation of development plans for the state education institutions and their implementation and supervision; gives its consent for the appointment and resignation of the Marz and community education department heads.

The district and community administration of education is implemented by the local self-governing bodies in the face of the Marz education departments. The assignment and resignation of their managers is agreed with the Ministry. These authorities ensure the enforcement of state education policy in Marz or community; they keep register for the pre-school and the school age children and ensure their enrollment in the education institutions. Besides, the Marz education departments are responsible for the construction of educational institution buildings and facilities, their utilization, maintenance.

The imperfection of the laws and regulations enforcement mechanisms of the, some complete absence, delays in of the laws and regulations, as well as the contradictions in the legal area hinder with the complete implementation of education policy.

The absence of operational links between the central government, regional administration and local government is also the consequence imperfect legislation on in education. The education institutions function under the umbrellas of different authorities, but there is still some unclear in definition of responsibilities. The absence of norms and regulations that would ensure management coordination creates serious difficulties for education administration agencies. Uncertainties are arising, when the different executive agencies adopt regulations contradicting to each other.

Adequate management skills are missing almost in all the levels of education management. The self-management mechanisms in education institutions are also very weak.

The lack of competition between individual institutions creates obstacles in development of real autonomy. Because of the imperfection of adequate supervising system, the real basis for autonomy cannot be placed in.

The society involvement in education management and democratization process of education system is very slow.

EDUCATION SYSTEM FINANCING

AArmenia education system is mainly financed from the state budget. The share of education in 2003 was the 10, 5% of the national budget, or only the 2% of GDP, which is nearly the half of world average. It should be compared with the 1991 level, when it was 7,2% of GDP. The education budget in the structure of the State Budget is defined by the levels of education and operational classification. The current budget financing does not allow ensuring all the required expenditures – food, services, routine maintenance costs for the building and facilities - for regular operation of the educational institutions. No budget allocation is envisaged for the development of teaching materials. The current funding level does not allow ensuring education process that meets the contemporary demands, or to create adequate social environment for the staff and students. The whole network receives funding which is considerably below the level of the real demand. The fund allocation within the system is completely inconsistent (Annex 2). Except the rarity of the budget facilities, the share of education budget within the national budget is also very small, though some growth tendency is observed during the recent years.

 

Efficient fund utilization is of special importance in an environment of rare facilities. The available budget allocation and out of budget facilities are allocated and utilized inefficiently, in a not systemized way both by education levels (preschool, basic and general secondary education, middle and higher professional education), and by type of expenditure within the budget of individual institution; all these do not comply with the international practice. Parent contributions are also not systemized.

 

Though adjusted alongside with the development of market relationships; the current government finance structure still has the influence of the Soviet regulations. The analyses of education budget allocations show the government prioritizes education. In education finance structure the general education share in 2000 has increased to 72%, which exceeds the average European indicator (70%), when in 1996 it was 41%. It should be mentioned though, that the general education allocations increase not due to general education budget increase, but due to budget restrictions for different education agencies within the system. As mentioned above, the government funding for preschool education has been gradually reduced, and has ceased completely in 1997.

EDUCATION IN ARMENIAN SPIRIT IN THE

DIASPORA

IIn the current stage of development of Armenia the main role of education is to meet the need for creating a democratic and rule of law state, for transition to market economy and to comply with the international tendencies of development in economy and society.

In order to ensure the development and compatibility of the education system and in order to be able to integrate into the international, network, it should become a high priority for the state, and the state itself should take the responsibility and play the most active role in developing its education network.

The strategy of Armenian education system development reflects the following main principles and development tendencies and is prepared in the social and cultural context of human civilization:

 

· Education is universal,

· Strengthening of the cultural and humanistic aspects in education, universalism and separation from technocratic character,

· Integration of the education sphere into other spheres, increase of social demand for education, increase the role of civil functions,

· Increase the role of fundamental education, information flow and the role of ecology,

· Therefore, it is necessary to achieve the following:

· Increase the education quality; make it meet the internationally accepted standards of education,

· Increase the efficiency of education network by utilizing new legal, economic, and organizational mechanisms and by attracting out of budget resources,

· Increase the professional qualification and social protection level of the education specialists,

· Introduce new technologies into the education institutions and create mechanisms for ensuring their progressive development,

· Integrate the Armenia education network into the international education community.

 

· Revise the structure and the content of general secondary education considering the length of education at each level, and ensure the transfer to 11 years, and then 12 years of education

 

· Revise and practice the new criteria for education and curriculum,

 

· Revise the subject syllabus from the aspect of developing logics, critical thinking, analytical thinking, efficient communication skills, logical and critical capacity, and capability of learning individually in the students.

 

The revision of subject syllabus will include three main directions in strategy:

· application of new teaching methodologies in teaching process;

· development and application of teaching process and student knowledge assessment new system;

· application of communication technologies in teaching process by and large as a contemporary means of organizing education;

 

· developing an independent public system for education quality assessment that does not depend on education management authorities;

· equip the education institutions by contemporary information and communication technologies;

ACTIVITIES PLANNED FOR GENEGAL EDUCATION DEVELOPMENT

Revise the structure and the content of general secondary education considering the length of education at each level, and ensure the transfer to 11 years, and then 12 years of education

 

· Revise and practice the new criteria for education and curriculum,

 

· Revise the subject syllabus from the aspect of developing logics, critical thinking, analytical thinking, efficient communication skills, logical and critical capacity, and capability of learning individually in the students.

 

The revision of subject syllabus will include three main directions in strategy:

· application of new teaching methodologies in teaching process;

· development and application of teaching process and student knowledge assessment new system;

· application of communication technologies in teaching process by and large as a contemporary means of organizing education;

 

· developing an independent public system for education quality assessment that does not depend on education management authorities;

· equip the education institutions by contemporary information and communication technologies;

· conduct a complex training of the teaching staff that includes new teaching methodologies, utilization of information/communication technologies in teaching process, etc.

 

The World Bank financed second Loan project called “Education Quality and Compliance” will target funds to achieving the above objectives.

ACTIVITIES PLANNED FOR PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION

DEVELOPMENT

In Professional Education area - it is planned to create a permanent monitoring system for specialists of diverse qualification and this will be based on international experience

It is also planned to create an efficient system of assistance to the graduates for employment, include-ding the aimed contracting system, develop the capacity of alternative job selection, as well as the capacity for individual orientation and starting a private job.

In the row of strategy directions in professional education development a special weight is given to the strengthening and renovation of the infrastructure and capacity building. There is a need for ensuring primary and secondary professional progressive development, because in the current stage the demand for primary and middle range professional specialists in industry is increasing in the economy. The education content in the training program for middle professional education should be radically renovated and the quality of the specialists should be improved; this specialist qualification should meet the international standards; the primary and middle professional education institutions should get decidedly reshaped and the needs of the local labor market should be considered. The professional education management system needs a serious reform. Quality changes should take place in all the levels of professional education process and development, in the area of transactions between the counties and the center.

 

For achieving new quality in professional education the following is envisaged:

· resolve the problems in professional education: ensure participation of the employers and other social partners in resolving the basic issues in professional education which are: development of education criteria in compliance with the contemporary needs; designing the demand for training professionals; training specialists on contract basis and human resource policy implementation on the local level;

· fundamental improvement of the professional institutions' technical capacity;

· increase the status/ reputation of the higher education institutions as the best producer of high quality professionals, as the decisive factor for development of public productive capacity and as the permanent renovating agency for professional education;

· provide public assistance to the leading scientific and creative schools, by defining the regulation and manners of providing such assistance;

· design conditions for the specialists permanent professional development; ensure continuity between different levels of professional education; develop efficient system for the additional professional education, that would ensure psychological assistance to the population during the changes in activity stiles or in case of promotion in career,

· centralize the training for resigned or unemployed people on competitive basis in the primary and middle education institutions based on the employment center reports

 

New management and economic mechanisms are needed for ensuring education management and finance, and the important elements of these mechanisms are:

· ensure increase the financial operation efficiency of the education institutions, ensure the transparency of the education institutions financial activities and increase their financial responsibility,

· create conditions that would make the attracting of additional funds for the education institutions possible,

· ensure tax exemption for the network,

· increase the level of additional paid education services on the background of education institutions

· Create cultural, education and production and health centers having the education institution as a background (especially in the rural areas).

IMPORTANCE OF THE EDUCATION MANAGMENT

INFORMATION SYSTEM

All the reforms taking place in the education network are directed to the Education Management Information System. It is of key importance for ensuring the information flow.

Generally, in the area of education information on one hand serves as background for the management of the sector; on the other hand it is the content of the education process.

 

The role of information is immense in education management, firstly, because in each definite stage of society development it is important to decide what the content of teaching process is. Secondly, because the teaching process being a complicated and dynamic process implemented at school, is closely linked with the social environment and other social subsystems. The organization process of actual management, regulation of the links and relevance between its different parts, is implemented based on the background information.

 

Information includes the comprehensive data, which reflects the objective reality and is used for orientation, active functioning and for management. Information is aimed at maintenance, improvement and development of the given system qualities.

 

A special component in information is the statistics. Statistic information has both reporting and controlling character. It includes qualitative and quantitative data about different sides of object operation. Statistics is a tool for summing up an object's open-ration results, analyzing it and giving the characteristics. In Education the main objective for information is not only to find out how is the teaching process progressing, measure its efficiency, difficulties and shortcomings, but also provides opportunities for decision making about coping the shortcomings and difficulties. Information allows discovering the new phenomena and tendencies in general education, which in its turn allows building up forecast.

As far as management efficiency is concerned, information and its processing referring education in general, and referring the general education in particular are not only a highly practical value, but are also of great scientific value. Therefore, information is part and parcel of management, which provides links between different sectors of school management, and it is the most important factor of combining and regulating the activities. Correct organization of information flow in all the sectors of management is a pledge for its high quality. As far as education is an incessant process, then the information data collection should be of permanent character. Such is the philosophy behind the unity of management and information.

INFORMATION MANAGEMENT SYSTEM INTRODUCTION INTO THE GENERAL EDUCATION IN ARMENIA

TThere was no any statistic data and report collection and analysis system in Armenia general education before 1999. Information about the education institutions was being collected by the form ways, which means visiting the sight, having telephone calls, etc., that do not meet the current need for data collection.

“Education Management Information System” (EMIS) has been introduced in the framework of “Education Management and Finance Reform” project for resolving the above issues, which ensures total data collection , processing and analysis in an optimum way, both on local and National levels.

EMIS is a complex of statistic data that collects, maintains, analyses and disseminates adequate information for education planning and management.

The goals and objective of the education management information system are:

· improve data collection, maintenance, analysis, commenting and disseminating process for the purpose of supplying the education network decision makers with needed information,

· make information available in all management levels for doing efficient planning and management,

· collect target information by reducing the collection, of unnecessary data to minimum

· ensure information availability and transparency of education network data.

· make decisions based on information and its analysis.

The data collection mechanism is important. Generally the information flow has a definite direction: school - marz education department - MIS center and vice versa. Information flow is given in diagram 1.

 

Information Flow

The school is the agency that ensures trustworthy, whole, high quality information. After being collected at school level, information is further developed, completed and summarized at the next levels of general education – marz education department and MoES. Generally data collection and processing at the given stage of management has three stages. At the first stage initial data is collected. The schools report on the given school year by special formats –“About the General Education institution Activities”. These formats are compiled and entered by specially developed computer program.

At the second stage the collected initial data is summarized, corrected and edited, the aim of which is to get large scale indicators, which are needed for accounting, distribution, planning and general management.

Data analysis, summery and conclusions needed for decision-making take place at the third stage.

The following activities have been carried out in 1999 – 2003 for EMIS establishment and introduction:

EMIS introduction design, implementation plan and reporting format were developed in 1999.

In 1999 MOES and National Statistic Service have approved the reporting format “About General Education Institution Activities”, which includes summary information about general education institution activities and consists of 9 sections:

“About General Education Institution Activities” report format comprises summery information about general education institution activities and consists of 9 sections:

 

A - “Visiting card”

School status, type, (primary, secondary, special character, etc.) working timetable, type of ownership, administrative belonging, address.

 

B – “Top management”

First names, surnames, date of birth, education, and experience of the school director, deputy director, organizer, accountant, and the school board chairperson.

 

C – School building and facilities

Type of the building, physical shape of the building, communication /sewage system, conditions of activity, the number of classes busy at the same time by shifts, available school furniture, teaching materials and utilization.

 

D – Number of subject hours by curriculum:

Number of hours by mandatory subjects, additional subjects and by grades.

 

E – Teachers:

Number of teachers by gender, specialized or non-specialized education, teacher employment level by distributed hours, teacher flows, vacancies by subject type and teaching load, teacher that have attended refreshment courses and have qualification.

 

F – Students:

Student number by gender, age, by teaching language and grades; distribution of student numbers by shift by out of school studies; school drop outs by age and by drop out reason; student absentees by subject; participation in school Olympiads by levels; examination results by education levels and by graduating grades; graduates; student flows by grades.

 

H – Non-teaching staff.

Numbers of the administrative and technical staff, service provider for technical studies, laboratory workers, librarians, doctors by gender.

 

Section I – Library stocks:

Library stocks at the beginning of the year and eat the end of the school year,

Number of readers, librarians, reading places.

 

J – Fund purchase and utilization:

Available national budget and out of budget funds, financial expenditure from the budget allocations and out of budget funds.

· In 1999-2000 al the marz education departments, MOES departments and the “Center for Education Reform” have been equipped with computers.

· In 2000 a computer program package has been developed that ensures data entry, maintenance, processing, utilization and analysis by year.

· In 2001 a computer network was created (through modem communication) including the marz education departments, “Center for Education Reform”, MoES departments and the “Center for Education Projects”.

· In 2000 –2001 MIS maintenance specialists were trained.

· A school database for the school years 2000 –2001, 2001 –2002 , 2002-2003 and 2003-2004 was created.

As an outcome result currently we have a general education institution data collection and processing system in place that ensures:

1. regular data collection, efficient and interrelated analysis, as well as immediate information provided to the relevant management agencies,

2. data efficient flow from the lower levels to the upper levels and vice versa,

3. marz community, school and parent access to data analysis and school indicators.
Ċ
Peter Merckx,
12 Jan 2010, 01:49
Ċ
Peter Merckx,
12 Jan 2010, 01:56
Ċ
Peter Merckx,
12 Jan 2010, 01:50
Ċ
Peter Merckx,
12 Jan 2010, 01:55
Ċ
Peter Merckx,
12 Jan 2010, 01:58
Ċ
Peter Merckx,
12 Jan 2010, 02:00
Ċ
Peter Merckx,
12 Jan 2010, 01:53
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