Do we need educational reform?

Azat Artsakh, Republic of Nagorno Karabakh (NKR)
April 6, 2004


The delegation of the RA Ministry of Education headed by minister
Sergo Yeritsian visited NKR to get acquainted with the educational
system in Artsakh and to discuss the project of the new state system
of secondary education. Apparently, our educational system is on the
threshold of serious reforms as a result of which Artsakh and Armenia
will have a system similar to the European system of secondary
education. The essence of these reforms is making secondary school 12
years as the schoolchildren are now overloaded. If starting from this
point, we must admit that 5-6 year old children will now be
overloaded. And besides, this system will shorten the childhood of our
children. Perhaps it is preferable to consider seriously the program
of physical training of our children. If the schooling age is
nevertheless lowered, the school should be divided to junior and
senior schools, but is this possible in our conditions? Another
important fact: a twelve-year secondary education is directly
connected with military service. Boys will have to go to the army
immediately after finishing school and most of them will simply have
no chance to get a higher education. Our poll of public opinion showed
that the approach of the society to this reform is not
unanimous. Heads of educational departments and certain teachers
welcomed it, and at the same time cautiously expressing their
disagreement to the current complicated school curriculum, they
implied that pupils of senior classes had better spend one more year
at school than join the ranks of unemployed or tramps. Parents are
absolutely against the 12-year secondary education. After school boys
will not have time to enter a higher educational institution. The
opinions of the schoolchildren are also different: some of them are
for the Western system of education, but the majority is worried about
spending two more years at school. The relief is that adoption of the
new system is planned gradually, during 12-13 years. It is important
to work out the mechanisms of implementation of this plan properly. It
is time to give up the idea that the school is a link preparing to
enter a higher educational institution. According to the NKR minister
of education, culture and sport Armen Sarghissian, the pupils will
have the opportunity to get narrow specialization in senior
classes. It is not obligatory to have a higher education especially
that a greater part of them will be employed in the sphere of economy
and service. Therefore, it is important to open different technical
colleges. And on the whole do we need this school reform? According
to the RA minister of education Sergo Yeritsian, we are of a high
opinion about our educational potential, which is not, however,
justified. S. Yeritsian cited the following fact: UNESCO conducted
checking of the knowledge of natural sciences of learners in 50
countries and Armenia was in the 45th place. This means that we have
problems in our educational system. Therefore it is necessary to think
about fundamental changes in the educational system. It is desirable
that it was not merely adding two more years to the 10-year
course. And finally, the words of the NKR minister of education that
our educational system should not fall behind the European and world
educational level. And on the other hand, we do not have the right to
accept this new system without taking into consideration the national