On April 30, at noon, Media Center hosted a Panel Discussion / Press Conference titled “Candidates' Perspectives on Education in Yerevan City and Suggested Solutions”, with participation of party representatives running for the city council, among them Artak Aghbalyan (ARF), Anahit Bakhshyan (Barev Yerevan), David Muradyan (Mission), Julieta Tadevosyan (OEK), Tamar Poghosyan (PAP), as well as Satenik Mkrtchyan, junior scientific worker at the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography.
Barev Yerevan alliance member Anahit Bakhshyan is convinced that all the issues voiced today are the consequence of the city council’s activities over the past four years, consisting of Prosperous Armenia (PAP) and Republican party (RPA) members.
“We can often see how the head of education department is lifting lids on casseroles at kindergartens – that is not his liability. School principles believing that the mayor is their sponsor, also believe they are allowed to act as they wish,” says Bakhshyan.
If a kindergarten director knows what s/he is working for, there won’t be shortcomings, believes Mission party representative David Muradyan.
“Today, when so many disabled people cannot move around for the lack of special facilities, hence have no chance to feel an equal member of society, when the rights of a huge stratum of society are violated, and when psychologically our society is not ready for inclusive education, the issue is unresolved, we believe, no matter what progress is made,” PAP representative Tamar Poghosyan says with strong conviction.
ARF’s Artak Aghbalyan believes that the educational system is politicized from top to bottom and is in the hands of the authorities often using it as an election mechanism.
“There are 161 kindergartens functioning, with 31.6 percent involvement. Any school principle can be fired for political reasons, with no regard to his/her professional skills,” he says.
Satenik Mkrtchyan, junior scientific worker at the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, says the normative system of kindergartens has to be available to parents.
“However, none of the state kindergartens has a website, hence it is impossible to receive transparent information,” he says.
OEK representative Julieta Tadevosyan believes that the soviet educational system had rather useful and valuable features that have to be preserved.
The current challenges in the sphere of education, the party representatives agree, can be overcome, if the municipality meets its liabilities and does not draft a charter the provisions of which are out of municipal authority.
Full video footage of the discussion can be found at this link.