Tag Archives: education

In the framework of an EU funded project a seminar-discussion “Leadership in the context of improvement and coordination of decision making process in VET sphere development” took place on 15 April 2015. During the seminar the international expert Yannis Sofianopoulos made a presentation of the results of the research “Possibilities and challenges of introduction of dual system in VET sphere in Armenia”. The expert underlined in his speech the ARS_9580importance of the dual system in Armenia. “A dual system VET is a very old system, but it is also very young, because one of the advantages of the system is its continuous innovations. We have a task to examine and investigate how the dual system which is widely spread in European countries and all over the world could be implemented in Armenia. Our efforts here are to try mixing two sides of our job: the first is what applies in several countries and the second side is to see what applies in Armenia, and then understand how we can incorporate the two into a system that would work for VET in Armenia”.
Head of Vocational Education and Training Division of the Armenian Ministry of Education and Science, Sasoun Hambardzumyan thanked the EU for the continuous support in the VET system in Armenia. “During the last years the European Union has provided support to vocational education and training in Armenia. Many colleges have been modernised in terms of infrastructure and equipment. The dual system is a very important topic for this sphere and we are looking forward to fruitful discussions with local and international experts”.
The project is financed by the European Union and implemented by IBF International Consulting.

A workshop introducing the European credit system for vocational education and training (VET) took place on 6 March 2015 in Yerevan within the framework of the European Commission’s Technical Assistance Information Exchange Instrument (TAIEX). Its aim was to share experiences on the introduction and development of the European credit system for VET. The seminar was held by the Deputy Head of the Cooperation Section of the EU Delegation, Jose-Maria Medina Navarro, the First Deputy Minister of Education and Science, and EU VET experts on an official visit to Armenia.
Medina Navarro talked about the importance of the system: “One of the aims of the European credit system is to increase the employability of graduates and confidence among employers that each qualification requires specific skills and knowledge. It is also a powerful tool for increasing cross-border cooperation in education and training. The introduction of such a new concept generates not only new challenges but also opportunities to improve the current system, and to make it more flexible and efficient’.
The Deputy Minister of Education and Science mentioned in her speech that TAIEX was a very productive and important instrument, and that many programmes had been successfully implemented through it: ‘The European credit system has made large progress in education in Armenia. Higher education has benefited and gained greater experience in this area – now it is the turn of vocational education. The European credit system for VET is very important for improving the quality of education, as well as increasing the mobility of students and professors’.
ARS_2972The European credit system has been already integrated into several colleges in Armenia. It will help to understand where these educational institutions are both strong and weak, thereby helping them to improve.
Participants in the workshop benefited from the presentations made by the visiting EU experts and the chance to share relevant experience.

The European Union Delegation to Armenia invited journalists on 19 February to a press briefing in the frames of a three-day training session organised from 17 to 19 February for staff members of Armenian universities. The briefing took place at the Sargis and Mary Izmirlyan Library at Yerevan State University.
This three-day training seminar, run by three EU experts, involved 30 representatives from 12 different universities in Yerevan, covering writing and learning outcomes; methods and processes for assessing students’ level of knowledge, skills and competencies; formal and informal exams; classroom participation; assignments; self-evaluation; peer evaluation; linking the European credit transfer and accumulation system (ECTS) to different modules.
The training sessions were organised within the framework of the EU twinning project called “Empowerment of Tertiary Level Education of the Republic of Armenia for European Higher Education Area Integration”, which was launched on 1 October 2014. The project’s overall objective is to strengthen cooperation on social development, especially in accordance with EU best practice reforms in training systems, quality assurance, and the higher education system. The initiative has a total budget of €1 million and will last for 24 months.
ARS_1894Borislav Dimitrov, International Aid/Cooperation officer at the EU Delegation, talked about the importance of sharing experience between native and international experts to bring about change in education: ‘Education and training are recognised as key drivers of growth and job creation to foster social equality and inclusion. This twinning project has an EU contribution of about €1 million. It is not a secret that the issue of matching skills to labour market demands is on the EU’s economic governance agenda and is a priority for many EU member states. In this context we are happy that the EU is in a position to help Armenia in its educational reforms. We are sharing experience, know-how and lessons learnt. The twinning instrument opens a sustainable approach for administrative reforms and approximation to the EU standards. This assistance complements Armenia’s involvement in 29 ongoing Tempus projects and 17 Erasmus Mundus projects, as well as the EU’s new education programme Erasmus Plus’.
The project is being implemented with cooperation from the Ministry of Education and Science of Armenia. Robert Sukiasyan, Head of Higher Education and Postgraduate Professional Education Department, introduced the involvement of their Ministry in these programmes: “Within the framework of the educational reform, Armenia is actively cooperating with the EU, including this twinning project. Its main goal is the ministry working together with EU experts to draft new legislation on higher education, as well as amendments to existing legislation. The other main topic is ensuring compliance with international quality standards. Another very important factor is also raising of professional skills of ministry employees, who will also undergo training in the near future’.
ARS_1945Karl Holm, Resident Twinning Advisor, spoke on the importance of the quality of education for compliance with the labour market: ‘Everybody is keen on education, which is why we are here. However, this love and passion needs good governance, solid legislation, better capacity, and quality. This is the main reason we are here. For this reason we are working very closely with beneficiaries, like the Ministry of Education and Science and the Armenian National Centre for Professional Education Quality Assurance Foundation (ANQA). This is the last day of the three-day training session for representatives of twelve different universities in Yerevan. We will continue these kinds of seminars – the project will train around 120 experts from Armenian higher education institutions. The essence of this project is that Armenian higher education should be linked to the European higher education area. This can lead to assistance and improvements on many issues, such as quality, legislation, mobility, and more. We are not saying that Armenia is not yet close to this, but we are here to emphasise some additional details to assist Armenia achieve greater higher education’.
The project includes Armenian higher education institutions and the national centre for quality higher education. Over 60 international experts from Finland, Germany and Estonia have been involved in the project and have come to Armenia to share their experiences in education. Indeed, at this seminar, the Vice-rector of Turku University (Finland) made a presentation to journalists about the Bologna process and Armenia’s involvement in it.
After the presentations and speeches, journalists, as well as seminar participants, had the opportunity to ask questions to programme representatives. It emerged that a major challenge for Armenian tertiary-level education system at this stage is to design a holistic system that is capable of preparing highly qualified specialists with transferable skills and the capacity to function in an ever-changing environment.

The National Erasmus+ Office in Armenia, the EU Delegation to Armenia and the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) organised on 11 December an information day for scholars, experts from higher education institutions, students, and representatives of non-governmental organisations. Participants were introduced to the EU Erasmus+ Programme (http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/index_en.htm) and to the launching of actions relevant to higher education from an international perspective.

The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Traian Hristea, highlighted that Armenia had been particularly active in terms of educational reform within the Eastern Partnership: ‘Erasmus+ will replace the Erasmus Mundus programme, and the EU is determined to do even more. Investing in education is the key to human potential, regardless of age and background. We would like to increase mobility among students between our regions and provide greater support to higher education institutions’.

IMG_9725The Minister of Education of Armenia appreciated the fact that the Erasmus+ programme will be available to future students and beneficiary organisations, and expressed the hope that the current level of positive cooperation would be enriched by new ideas and innovation: ‘This is quite an important programme for Armenia, and will help in accumulating, analysing and spreading any kind of information on educational reforms. Next year we will host the European Ministers conference in Yerevan; representatives from 47 countries will gather in Armenia to come up with strategies for the future of European higher education’.

IMG_9833The “Erasmus+” programme is aimed at boosting skills and employability, as well as modernising education, training and youth work. The seven-year programme was launched in January 2014 and will be financed by the EU with a budget of €14.7 billion. The programme shows the EU’s commitment to investing in education and employment. The mandate of partner countries’ national Erasmus+ offices under the Erasmus+ programme covers all support, promotion, monitoring and dissemination activities related to the international higher education dimension of the programme.

The EU-funded twinning project called “Empowerment of the Tertiary Level Education of the Republic of Armenia for European Higher Education Are Integration” was launched on 1 October in Yerevan. This project will contribute to the strengthening of cooperation on social development, in particular educational reform. This will be in line with EU best practices in the field of training systems, quality assurance, and the reform of the tertiary education system. This is expected to enhance the system’s quality and relevance to the labour market.

The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Traian Hristea, highlighted the crucial role of the project and its contributions to the education system: ‘The fields of education and training have been recognised as key drivers within the “Europe 2020” strategy to boost growth and jobs, and foster social equity and inclusion. This twinning project will contribute to strengthening cooperation between Armenia and the EU on higher education, in particular by upgrading the legislative framework, as well as reforming the tertiary educations system in terms of quality and correspondence to the labour market’.

The project will be implemented by the Ministry of Education and Science (MOES) of Armenia (the beneficiary), the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre, and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Several higher education institutions and 60 experts will be engaged in the project from Finland and Germany, as well as additional experts from Estonia.

First Deputy Minister of Economy Garegin Melkonyan presented the backdrop of similar projects in Armenia on behalf of the Ministry, which coordinates twinning projects: ‘Since 2009 there have been 19 twinning projects carried out in Armenia. As we all know, twinning is one of the biggest large-scale projects realised by the EU in Armenia. The preparatory period of the project usually takes one year, and the project itself usually lasts for 2 years, during which selected experts from EU member states enter relevant local institutions and help to shape daily routines in order to ensure best practice’.

This new twinning initiative has four main components: 1) reviewing legislation, 2) enhancing the capacities of relevant institutions, 3) supporting higher education institutions with regard to programmes under principal areas of the Bologna process, and 4) introducing a national qualification network compatible with employers’ and students’ requirements. The project is funded by the European Union with an overall budget of €1 million and has a duration of 24 months.