An "Academic Town" is being created in Armenia. What will it change in the system?
Academic Town in Armenia
By 2030, Armenia will build an “Academic Town”, which will house 16 universities and 44,000 students.
The government has already approved the concept of the project, according to which construction will start in 2025 and will be completed by the end of 2029. Officials responsible for the sphere of education and science believe that the creation of the town is a necessity and that it will allow “higher education and science to meet high standards and to be competitive at the international level”.
According to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, this is a strategic plan that is “aimed at Armenia’s future.” But experts warn that it will require large investments and not lead to substantial, meaningful changes.
“Modern environment for quality education”
Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports Zhanna Andreasyan believes that the townwill guarantee the best application of acquired knowledge and ensure “prevalence of scientific research and identification of results”.
Innovative approaches will be promoted here and intellectual property will be protected.
There are 4 clusters to be activated
The campus concept details four main areas of operation, or clusters: technology, arts, education, and military. It is also planned to involve high schools, where pupils of 10-12 grades will study.
The Minister of Education said that to maximize the effectiveness of the reform, for each cluster the government is starting cooperation with experienced international partners. Among them are the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and London University of the Arts.
“In early November, the working group in charge of the arts cluster will visit the University of the Arts London to finalize the concept of the academy campus,” Andreasyan said.
The total area of the township may reach 700 hectares
The first and the main part is the territory adjacent to the 17th district of Yerevan, the predominant part of which is state or municipal property. The second is the territory of the Amo Beknazaryan Hayfilm Film Studio, which will be addressed in case “there is a need for it according to the general plan”. The two sites were chosen because of their physical location, with a total area of about 700 hectares.
The preliminary plan suggests that the township could be 700 hectares in size. It will probably be located on two neighborhoods adjacent to each other in Yerevan.
“The territories of the academcampus will be planned with the logic that they can physically accommodate up to 16 universities: 8 enlarged state universities and up to 8 private or international universities,” explained the Minister of Education.
Both sites are adjacent to the same interstate highway. It is also planned to connect it to railway.
Until recently, the government considered Ashtarak city for the realization of this project, but finally decided on Yerevan. It is not specified for what reason.
New infrastructure will be created
It is not only about the development of residential area, educational institutions and research and production centers. It is even planned to have territories for agricultural experiments, multifunctional concert and sports halls and a stadium for 35,000 spectators.
In order for the infrastructure of the town to meet modern standards, the Ministry of Education is cooperating with international organizations listed in the field of design and construction.
Education expert Serob Khachatryan has a positive attitude to the project, but warns:
“The project is quite costly, but it will not have a big impact on the sphere, will not lead to qualitative changes. The education system will remain the same. What will change when moving from one place to another? Let’s take soccer as an example. If we build a luxurious stadium for one of our teams, will they play soccer better?”
For maximum results, the expert considers it important to work on improving the quality of teacher training programs and suggests “revolutionary changes” in the management system.
Academic Town in Armenia