October of last year students looking for an education
different than what might normally be offered
in Armenia, need not look outside the country
to find it.
The European Regional Academy of Armenia offers
a program that combines educational influences
from several European countries including Germany,
France and Austria. Its first year of studies
began October 4 with 230 students.
"After studying in Yerevan University of
Engineers, I realized that the educational quality
doesn't satisfy me," says 21 year old student
Areg Sukiasyan from Tehran. "I transferred
to the European Regional Institute of Information
and Communication Technology of Armenia to study
media specialty. The study is very optimal here."
The media institute is part of the overall program
of the European Academy, where students can study
in several different disciplines.
The first level of study is in the Bachelor's
program, after which those choosing to can continue
to gain a Master's degree.
"We will prepare only qualified specialists
without fail. And education is competitive here,"
says the head of the Academy Sergey Bichakhchyan.
Bichakhchyan says the new Academy takes a more
practical approach to applied education and that
upon completing their studies: "Each student
of the Academy must realize that after getting
high qualification he or she will be working in
Armenia first of all."
The major divisions of the Academy include law,
linguistics, nature protection and cultural cooperation.
"The methods of teaching informational technologies
in the Academy correspond to the European standards,"
says deputy head of the Academy on the external
relations and programs of development Aghasi Avetisyan.
"We learn things which are now required in
the local and international markets taking into
account required specialists."
Bichakhchyan says the Academy also will "re-train"
professionals whose skills might be outdated or
jobs made obsolete in the current career environment.
"I've graduated from the Department of Philosophy
of Yerevan State University in 1996. I realized
that the future is informational society,"
says specialist of social philosophy 29 year old
Vardan Tumanyan, who studies in the Academy's
Department of Application Programming. "I've
started again from the beginning."
Babayan, 25, graduated from the Institute of National
Economy in 1996. He is an economist and expert
on merchandise. He says, however, that his education
didn't correspond to the new market.
"Now I'm studying in the Department of
Media and Informatics," he says. "Those
who come here must realize what they are coming
Some of the Academy teachers will receive training
in European countries to refresh their specialties,
while teachers from those countries will come
to teach in Armenia.
Hayk Sharkhatunyan teaches four groups of 20
students each in the informatics Department.
"The Academy will give new quality to the
Armenian educational system," he says. "It
is a new method of studying. We teach new ways
Graduates of the Academy will be given diplomas
of the particular European university from which
their curriculum originate as well as state diplomas.
Study in the Master's program lasts two years,
four months. Those wishing to be retrained in
a specialty graduate in two years, six months.
Iranian student Kamuar Kojuri, 21, transferred
to the Academy from the University of Engineers.
He originally came to study in Armenia because
tuition fees are lower than neighboring countries,
but "the educational quality is very high."
The first class at the Academy includes 30 foreign
students - from Iran, Syria and United Arab Emirates.
tuition fees is $780 per year and Master's courses
cost $880. Twenty percent of students study for
free, based on scholastic merit.
"Only those who have high educational level
are on the list of those 20 percent," Bichakhchyan
says. "And we take into account that level
both during entry examinations and during their
study. At the end of each year the contest for
the free tuitions for next year will be conducted."
The foreign student program is financed by the
European Union which, Bichakhchyan says, found
Armenia to be the most democratic republic in
the Trans-Caucasus region. The Council also considered
Armenia's geographic location and its ability
to be a link to regional countries.
Bichakhchyan says the Academy has also recently
signed a contract with the British Council for
cooperation with Cambridge University.
"That program will make international positions
of Armenia more stable," the Academy leader
says. "Leading European universities didn't
pay attention to it just for nothing."