According to data of the Ministry of Science
and Education there are 1,392 schools functioning
in the republic. Fifty-three are boarding schools,
35 are vocational schools and 1,304 of general
education. More than 55,000 teachers are involved
in the educational system.
530,000 pupils attend classes throughout Armenia.
Unlike Soviet times, when education was compulsory,
today about 14,000 children do not attend school
due to social and economic hardship.
"Many years ago we had a strong educational
system - Soviet system, which was considered to
be one of the best in the world, these days everything
has changed," says 65 year old pedagogue
Founder of the well-known Nersisyan College in
Echmiadzin, Nahatakyan dedicated his life to education
of the rising generation and says he has never
seen the educational system in such a miserable
"The salvation of the country lies in education,"
Nahatakyan says. "Today there are many talks
about improvements in the educational system,
however everything remains almost the same. The
reason is indifference."
As specialists assure, there are several reasons
why Armenia's educational system in such a condition.
"All over the world educational systems
are being renovated and improved but here we make
no headway," says Edgar Khachatryan of Echmiadzin.
Anahit Hakobyan of Yerevan says that unlike the
past, when her elder children were attending school,
these days the situation has sharply changed.
"Twelve years ago my two elder children
were attending school, today my younger daughter
is attending school," she says, "the
difference is great both in textbooks and in the
level of teaching. Before, it was possible to
enter the institutes of higher education just
after finishing school but today it is almost
impossible. And the lack of teachers' excitement
is probably conditioned by small salaries."
According to the Ministry of Science and Education,
in 2002 the average salary of teachers was approximately
18,000 drams (about $31) a month.
"High salaries must become a pledge of teachers'
good work. If a teacher is not paid well he or
she has to do something else," Nahatakyan
says. "After the lessons one can meet a teacher
in the market selling something. And can you imagine
what can a teacher and a pupil feel when they
meet each other both in classroom and in the market?"
Naira Vardanyan, 30, of Echmiadzin is sure that
bribery common in schools today is the result
of low salaries and a reason why many children's
inclination to study is fading.
"The idea of additional, paid study formed
several years ago," says Armine Grigoryan.
"For earning additional money teachers carry
out private lessons after school charging 2,000-3,000
drams per month and those who don't attend those
lessons get low marks. As a result of such unfairness
many children don't want to attend school and
"The first condition is that government
must pay more attention to teachers and they must
feel themselves protected," says teacher
Alina Taroyan. "Doesn't our future depend
on the well-being of this field?"
According to another point of view the decline
of the educational level in schools of general
education is due to an influx of teachers who
come from other professions but turned to teaching
just to have a job.
"These days the educational system receded
into the background," says 30 year old Gayane
Babayan from Artimed village of Armavir region.
"The situation is especially bad in villages.
Many teachers avoid working in villages. Teachers
must be provided with favorable conditions so
that they could be more interested in working
there. Education must be the number one issue
for a prospering country."