ISTANBUL (Nor Marmara) — Istanbul’s Armenian schools and institutions have seen many difficulties in 2020. Aside from the loss of communal togetherness typically seen at events, fundraising has become more difficult because events have been made impossible by social distancing.
The Hrant Dink School is under the auspices of the Armenian Evangelical Church in Gedikpasa [Gedikpasha]. Most of the students are children of natives of Armenia who have moved to Istanbul for work. The school’s volunteers work under the leadership of Haroutiun and Talar Horozoglu. They are facing the same difficulties that all the other Armenian schools in Istanbul have faced this year. The school’s daily schedule has been disrupted by the pandemic, and financial difficulties have mounted, because the parents are not in a position to pay tuition.
Horozoglu said in an interview that based on the decisions of the Ministries of Education and Health, the Hrant Dink School has continued either face-to-face or distance learning. For the nursery school and kindergarten students, face to face learning has always been preferable, because their parents work and there is no one to take care of them in the house.
The elementary and middle school students are taught through distance learning. Through the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul, their 15 students received computers in order to follow their classes.
Every year in March, the graduating class goes to Yerevan for an examination certifying that they have passed 9th grade, and to receive their diplomas. This year, due to the pandemic the 10 graduates had a delayed departure, but were able to successfully take their exams and enroll in high school there.
During the first wave of the pandemic, 20 students left with their families for Armenia. A few months ago, during the second wave of the pandemic, 20-22 more students returned to Armenia. Now the number of students is around 80-82.