Decentralization of education is the cause of new scandals in Armenia

Syuzanna Ghukasyan

Recently, RA Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced that there is an idea to put the buildings of Yerevan universities up for sale and with the money received to build an academic city outside Yerevan. This statement made by the Prime Minister is an occasion of heated discussions in Armenia.

According to Pashinyan, it is time to build university-academic cities outside Yerevan. However many are against this idea. Among them is Isabella Sargsyan, a member of the "Yerevan Heritage Protection Committee" initiative. According to Sargsyan, the government's idea of selling university buildings and creating academic cities in the regions is just a way to increase the budget. Sargsyan has mentioned that she does not see any serious tendency to develop science, education, to decentralize or develop the regions in that idea. 

According tօ Nikol Pashinyan, the idea of selling the buildings of Yerevan universities is conditioned by their physical infrastructural and content problems. 


In one of his pre-election (Extraordinary elections of the 8th convocation of the National Assembly of Armenia in 2021) meetings with the people, Pashinyan noted։ ''Since university buildings are located in the center, let's put those buildings up for sale, then build a city outside of Yerevan from the money raised, which will be a university-academic city where will be concentrated our scientific and lecturers potential." Then the Prime Minister added that these children will have the opportunity to go from that reformed school to a reformed university system: "Even the building conditions in our universities today do not meet the standards of the 21st century," concluded Pashinyan. 


Regarding this topic, member of the "My Step" faction of the National Assembly Gevorg Papoyan wrote on his Facebook page: "The construction of an academic city has at least 3 main components: educational, economic and unloading of the capital."
According to Papoyan, the problem is not the privatization of buildings, but the improvement of the quality of education where the student will have a desire to learn. 


It should be noted that the Minister of Education Vahram Dumanyan agrees with the Prime Minister's idea. The idea of decentralization is still under discussion and no formal decision has been made yet.