Armenia to cut education funds
The Armenian government has decided to reduce its expenditures in the education sphere over the next three years. In experts’ opinion, schools and universities will be allocated less funds, which, in turn, will lead to reduction of the teachers and lecturers’ salaries and, consequently, the teaching quality will worsen.
“It’s a real disaster for the field,” says Serob Khachatryan, an expert on education issues. He believes that there won’t be either high-skilled specialists or an educated generation without proper funding.
“We should pay teachers, let’s say, AMD 100 000 [approximately USD 200], whereas now they will be paid AMD 80 000 [about USD 170]. But everything in this life has its own price. So, without any further ado, they are just damaging the entire system,” said Khachatryan.
The government commented on the aforesaid decision as follows: “The government attaches great importance to education as one of the preconditions for the country’s stable development and progress. However, the conditions for putting the current system into optimal shape limits the justification for increasing the education costs. At the next stage, the government is going to progressively increase public spending on education, both in nominal terms, as well as in proportion to the GDP.”
However, experts aren’t satisfied with the aforesaid explanation. According to Ashot Bleyan, the director of the ‘Mkhitar’ educational complex, the education sector is already underfunded and that teachers’ salaries resemble ‘allowances’. In his opinion, the reduction of education expenses under such conditions is just shameful.
He stressed that the government would better think of implementing some new education projects, promoting self-education among the youth.
Armenian Facebook users also expressed their discontent in this regard. The government’s decision to cut education funding was taken negatively. Social media users expressed concerns that the quality of education, which is already rather poor, will further worsen.
“The Republican Party was talking about a knowledge-intensive economy, about growth in education spending, making pledges, bla-bla-bla.”
“‘Bon appétit’, dear government! Try not to make your stomach burst…”
“Well done! You are killing the country’s future. You’d better use a machine gun, sirs.”
“Attention all! The education system, which is already on its deathbed, is being ruined at the state level.”
“Until now, there have been at least some formal expectations of possible growth. My beautiful country Nairi (a synonym of Armenia), a unique country, where the government reports on a targeted three-stage reduction of education funding, that is, in the next three years, funding will be reduced compared to each previous year.”
“Increase in tuition fees, reduction of education funding. Isn’t it enough? An educated generation is the only normal resource in our country, but our government thus hampers the development of our community, depriving a large layer of the society in a poor country of a chance to get education. Education is a public good, rather than a business.”