Reforms in professional development and education for teachers have been a crucial part of Armenia’s general education reform. Upon the completion of the regulatory framework for general education, teachers from schools across Armenia participated in training courses, which introduced them to the national curriculum, subject standards, interactive and cooperative teaching methods, as well as new approaches to assessment. ICT trainings were also implemented. In 2010 the system of teacher verification was also introduced. Reforms also included large revisions to educational content. A system of subject standards has been formulated, according to which, required outcomes are being developed for each level of general education and each subject.
Since 2009, one of OSF-Armenia’s priorities in its general education strategy has been to achieve policy change by piloting and improving subject standards and curricula. Since 2012, however, OSFA has changed the approach, towards assessing the effectiveness of the reforms of education system in order to identify the reasons why the large amounts of financial investments and projects implemented do not generate the desired impact in terms of quality and management, and do not meet the educational needs of today. The Foundation commissioned a research project to assess two key components of general education reforms, teacher professional development (training) and the content of general education. Research was carried out by Barev NGO during the period of February – June 2013. It covers 45 secondary schools from 6 regions of Armenia.
The research combines quantitative and qualitative methods. In-depth interviews and focus group discussions were used for the qualitative research, while standardized survey questionnaires were used for the quantitative research. Regulatory documents and international publications relevant to the topic were also used in the research. Within the scope of the research the survey was conducted among 450 students from grades 9 and 12. In-depth interviews were conducted with education experts. The focus groups were comprised of teachers from their respective regions.
The main conclusion of the research is that in-service teachers’ training system in Armenia is that the in-service teachers training system is unable to ensure notable progress because it is not need based one and it lacks important components such as feedback mechanisms, class observations, and cooperation between teachers. New methods and new content alone cannot guarantee their use in the classroom or a positive impact on the quality of education. Moreover, Armenia’s system continues to rely on extremely complex textbooks written in academic language. Many students find this difficult and are unable to learn the instructional material and thus lose their motivation to learn generally.
The public presentation of the report was March 28 in Yerevan. The report can be accessed on the OSFA web site at www.osi.am. As a follow up to the research, OSF – Armenia has initiated a series of regional discussions with participation of teachers, parents and education experts with an aim to mobilize them and to raise their voices for better secondary education. For more information about this research please contact Lilit Nazaryan, Program Coordinator at OSFA by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was originally published by Open Society Foundation – Armenia and it is with their permission that it has been republished.