On January 25, the NA Standing Committee on Science, Education, Culture, Diaspora, Youth and Sport convened parliamentary hearings.
In his opening speech the Committee Chair Sisak Gabrielyan noted that a month ago the parliament passed a large scale amendments being proposed to the law on General Education. According to him, during the debate at the NA Standing Committee also by the proposal of the opposition deputies a decision was made to organize public hearings to make more substantive the problems existing at school, to hear the proposals and observations of the stakeholders on the draft law.
First of all, the RA Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport Zhanna Andreasyan touched upon the accusations voicing to their address concerning the reforms in the sphere of general education. Zhanna Andreasyan presented statistic data, substantiating the circumstance of the non-effective realization of school knowledge on humanitarian and natural science subjects.
According to the rapporteur, the amendments of the general education content are fully justified on the amendment of the assessment order: it is designed to cancel the insufficient assessment threshold, to support the additional education, to make use of various forms of assessment, to study and to teach that the evaluation is not only a mark which often becomes a matter of ‘life and death’ for a learner, and more often - for a parent.
According to the Deputy Minister, there is a problem of recruitment for pedagogues: today there are annually 700 vacancies for teachers, and they are not filled in.
The problems of the teachers’ training and professional development have been referred to, noting that certain approach of professional development is necessary for beginner teachers.
The Deputy Minister has related to the changes of the general education, noting that the new state criterion of general education is experimented in the Tavush marz/region. The knowledge is an issue for turning it into skill and capability, as well as an issue for resolving the problem of upbringing before school will be put.
The next issue is the change of the teachers’ professional development and encouragement, the expansion and inter-connection of the professional field to the payment system. The teacher will get an opportunity to turn to the attestation process, as a result of which the teacher’s rate will be changed.
“We’ll go to the changes of certification order. The calculations are made that we’ll be able to make reality 400.000 AMD salary for teachers,” Zhanna Andreasyan.
The trainings will be carried out according to the professional need. The opportunities for teachers to use the category will be expanded.
The logic of financing inclusive education is changed: it is proposed to refuse increased education financing and switch to targeted funding.
The next direction refers to the change of the management system in general education. It is suggested to separate the specialized functions, to have a separate administrative-economic management in schools, which should be carried out by specialized persons and structures.
The method of electing an executive body for a school and the process of certification of current directors will be changed.
The participants of the hearings referred to the predicted impact of modern challenges in general education and legislative reforms. They mainly welcomed the changes made in the field, presented their observations and questions on their concerns.
The increase of the teachers’ salary was evaluated in the issue of a pedagogue’s motivation. The importance of close cooperation between schools was underlined. It was considered inadmissible for directors to engage in party activities, and there was also a proposal to review the provision of the director to have a mandatory pedagogical education. An opinion has been voiced, that the proposed new model of administrative-economic management will not work, moreover, it will cause problems in the system.
Problems related to the implementation of inclusive education, the recruitment of relevant specialists in schools, laboratories and other properties were also raised.
In conclusion, Zhanna Andreasyan thanked for both the voiced criticism and the proposals. She has noted that after the hearings, the Ministry will organize a discussion to refer to the raised observations in order to further improve the project. “The change is important, but it is necessary that the initiative be as well-developed, high-quality and discussed as possible,” the Deputy Minister underlined.