The State of Higher Education in Armenia

Armenia has a rich cultural and historic heritage. In every sphere of life, this country has seen some remarkable progress and perhaps, this is most evident in the field of education. Armenians believe that education is extremely important and this belief has propelled a swift rate of progress in this sphere. This commitment to providing education for all resulted in the country recording 100 percent literacy way back in 1960. Armenia’s history of education can be traced back to the Communist era, when the government had complete control over this sector, and primary and secondary education was not only free, but completing secondary level was mandatory for everyone.

Education Facilities in Armenia

Armenia has higher education facilities spread over four different categories – University, Academy, Conservatory and Institute.

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Universities provide supplementary, postgraduate and higher levels of education in various subjects. An educational academy provides programmes for specific and individual fields. A conservatory looks at educating people in the field of music. Institutes in Armenia deal with academic and scientific programmes.

Both the state and private entities run such facilities with the number of private higher educational facilities being higher at 41when compared to the state run facilities at 26. A large number of private higher educational institutions – 35 to be precise – are accredited. Of the 26 institutes administered and run by the state, 16 of them come under the Ministry of Education and Science.

Global Connections

The World Economic Forum brought out a Global Competitiveness Report in 2010-2011 in which Armenia came in at the 98th rank. There were a total of 139 countries that had been studied across various parameters and Armenia showed an improvement in many sectors, which included the education sector. The country has also been steadily transforming to the Bologna process and is working towards joining the European Higher Education Area. The Bologna process follows a two-cycle degree system. The country holds a lot of attraction for foreign students, who are drawn here by the fact that the country has lots of opportunities for research and learning. From the year 2008 onwards, educational programmes in Armenia have become compliant with the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System.

Education and the Usage of Technology

Armenian education is said to have had a beginning over 700 years ago and the contemporary period of higher education probably began in a formal way with the establishment of the Yerevan State University. This university and many others in Armenia are at the forefront of using technology, like the Internet to drive the education system. There is a project that is already underway and which aims at achieving 98 percent Internet penetration rate, as far as educational facilities in the country are concerned. Just a few months ago, one of the leading educational facilities in the country launched Wi-Fi educational hotspots and computer labs with the objective of being able to drive education even more with the use of Wi-Fi and Internet connectivity. With the establishment of Wi-Fi hotspots in higher educational institutes, users and students can connect to the world at large even more easily.

Opportunities for Improvement

There is no doubt that Armenia has made immense improvements in the field of education, especially in the higher education domain. However, it also has to deal with a few challenging areas. One critical area that needs to be addressed is the perception that the universities are not research centres. There is also the need to globalise education in the country to a larger level. The progress of higher education in Armenia also needs to be seamlessly integrated into economic development at large.

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