Armenian educators head to university March 1

The Easterner, WA
Feb 23 2005

Armenian educators head to university March 1

By Thomas Coghlan, News Assistant
February 22, 2005

Six Armenian educators will be coming to EWU in March to participate
in a social science curriculum development program.

`It is a new program for Eastern, previously housed at George Mason
University,’ said Earl Gibbons, junior executive director of
Educational Outreach.

EWU received the $63,900 grant from the Bureau of Educational and
Cultural Affairs (ECA) in collaboration with the International
Research and Exchange Board (IREX).

The ECA, part of the State Department, is aimed at creating
international education and training programs that help the U.S. and
other countries promote a mutual understating of each, while
presenting the historical, social and cultural aspects of America.

The IREX, founded in 1968, is an international nonprofit organization
that specializes in education, independent media, Internet
development and civil society programs. The grant that EWU received
was part of their educational outreach program designed to contribute
to other countries.

In May 2004, IREX won the 2004-2007 High School Social Science
Development and Teacher Education Project for Armenia (HST). Their
goal with this program is to provide professional development for
educators and expose them to new ideas and programs that they can
take home with them and apply to their school system.

The Armenian school system has suffered since the fall of the Soviet
Union. Since Armenia has not been an independent country for a long
time, they lack the infrastructure and experience to provide the
level of education that they need.

The HST program is one of the ways in which they are trying to
rebuild their education system.

Although this program is specifically designed for the social studies
program, which includes areas like history, government, global issues
and others, it will have a reverberating effect on other aspects of
the Armenian education system.

The programs that these educators take back home will be piloted and
adapted to fit the needs of their school system. These educators will
then share what they have learned with other educators.

Gibbons and Gary Varella, the principal investigators who have been
working in Armenia for a number of years, traveled Feb. 1 to Armenia
to meet with the candidates and then select the six-member team.

They performed field assessments of the needs and priorities of the
high schools then later gave a two-day workshop in Yerevan, Armenia,
focusing on the results of what they discovered in their assessments.
This initial meeting helps the American side of this program prepare
the training program at EWU.

The Armenian educators will arrive at EWU March 1 to begin the
program. They will participate in a 12-week workshop focusing on
researching and creating a Handbook for Training High School

The Armenians will also work on a new curriculum for their high
school social studies program as well as beginning the preliminary
training for the high school pilot representatives that will help
other educators in Armenia benefit from the information learned at

At the conclusion of the 12-week program there will be another
workshop in Yerevan and the final scheduling of the pilot-testing
program will begin.

This program represents EWU’s devotion to cultural diversity here on
campus, as well as a continued support for the international
community. Each program that EWU hosts opens doors for future
developments and will be sure to attract similar programs and grants.