Serob Khachatryan

Teachers Are Lacking in Armenia

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YEREVAN — In recent years, the pedagogical environment in Armenia has been facing difficulties. Extremely low salaries are the main reason for the significant decrease in the number of teachers in Armenia today, and, in particular, the regular decline in the number of science teachers. Education specialist and pedagogue Serob Khachatryan recently declared a press conference that at this moment it is very important to prevent the reduction of the number of teachers, and immediately after that to start improving their quality and the conditions of the teaching environment.

“At this stage, the main problem of the education system is the lack of teachers. The solution to this problem is hard to imagine. The number of teachers decreased by 877 in one academic year. In the previous academic year, we had 31,300 teachers, and this year, 30,200,” said Khachatryan.

The specialist considers the reason for all this to be the so-called secondary status of the humanities in higher education institutions, due to which young people do not want to receive “secondary” education.

“In addition to this, it should be taken into account that specialists in the humanities are not well paid. Therefore, they avoid adopting professions through which they will not be able to arrange their lives in the future,” Khachatryan explains.

During the press conference, the specialist stressed sorrowfully that there are no applicants in the subject of mathematics in the universities of Shirak and Vanadzor, while at the pedagogical university, if there were 31 applicants in the pedagogical university last year, now their number is 11.

“Every year we need about 100-120 math specialists, but they do not exist, and chemistry and physics are in a worse condition. There are no transformations in terms of joint exams. Again the most popular professions are medicine, programming, law and international relations, that is, the traditionally well-known professions, where there are usually more applicants, so there is no change in choices. It is possible to restore the right of deferment, so that after graduation the boys go to the villages to work as teachers there, because we are going to have a situation where there is a shortage of teachers in many places. Therefore from now on we must pursue a prudent policy and motivate applicants,” he added.

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Khachatryan also referred to the age of teachers, noting that at the moment 3,500 teachers, or 12%, are over 65 years old. Many of them want to retire but have no one to replace them. It is a completely different picture among the youth because there are very few teachers under the age of 25 in Armenia.

“As for the voluntary certification of teachers, this issue is presented in a rather narrow and manipulative way. A number of deputies wrote that teachers can receive a salary of 400,000 drams, but for that the teacher must receive the best evaluations and possess the fourth category [the highest level of educational certification]. As far as I know, there have been no recipients of the fourth category in Armenia yet,” said Khachatryan.

He considers it unacceptable to increase teachers’ salaries through the voluntary system of certification, as there is no similar policy in the healthcare, legal or other systems.

Concluding the press conference, Khachatryan expressed the opinion that if we move at this pace, in a few years we will have a crisis of the teaching staff, which in turn will cause a crisis in other spheres of society.

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