Serob Khachatryan

‘We Lack Teachers’: Serob Khachatryan

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YEREVAN — Serob Khachatryan, a specialist in education who teaches at Yerevan State University in the Department of Philosophy and Psychology and served as executive director of the Children of Armenia Fund from 2010 to 2013, recently spoke about the dearth of teachers in the country.

He summarized university admission results for the 2022-2023 academic year: “The Republic of Armenia needs about 150 teachers every year, according to the data. This year, for example, at the Pedagogical University, about forty applicants were admitted in the field of elementary pedagogy, in the history, social studies, Armenian language and literature, English, Russian, and German departments. The science departments are in a more tragic situation, where only seven people were admitted.”

He added that he had predicted this unfortunate situation earlier.

He explained, “For example, the biology major is in the ‘best’ shape among natural science subjects, as there are fifteen applicants. However, all fifteen applicants failed their examinations. Applicants to geography, information science and chemistry majors also recorded similar results. Only one person passed the exam in physics, and six in mathematics.”

The expert noted with sorrow that the professions which schools rely on to progress are in decline — that is, today we are facing the danger of losing the essence of the schools, because this trend is constantly accelerating.

He said: “It’s sad, but if in the near future, the vacant places of students are not filled, at least with applications for distant places, then in addition to pedagogical problems, we will also see serious financial problems of the Pedagogical University, which you can understand what they can lead to.”

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Speaking about the reasons and solutions, Khachatryan said he believed that the ministry responsible for education needs to develop simple, accessible, high-quality printed and electronic resources for subjects, through which students without a teacher can learn independently under the guidance of a non-specialist. This option will make it possible to save capable children. He said that if these and other steps are not taken, then in just four years a shameful situation will exist, which will end the development of Armenian pedagogical thought.

“One of the options, despite being problematic, is the enlargement of schools, or the ministry should ask private companies to send their employees to teach schools for a while (1-2 years) while maintaining their salaries,” he said.

The specialist also suggested supporting the Teach for Armenia program, which has provided significant help to schools in Armenia and Artsakh in recent years.

“Like the Pedagogical University, the Agrarian University is also in bad shape this year,” Khachatryan concluded, adding that although these two universities are the ones in the worst condition, others are not free from the abovementioned dangers, which may be caused in the coming years if appropriate measures are not taken.

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