RA Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports Zhanna Andreasyan participated in the opening ceremony of the renovated Vanadzor Regional Pedagogical-Psychological Support Center in the region of Lori.
The Center was renovated with the cooperation of the RA ESCS Ministry and the US Agency for International Development in the scope of the “Strengthening the Inclusive Education System in Armenia” program. The program concluded with the opening of the Regional Pedagogical-Psychological Support Center in Vanadzor.
ESCS Deputy Minister Araksia Svajyan, Deputy Governor of Lori Hovhannes Avetisyan, Head of the Vanadzor Community Arkady Peleshyan, Mission Director of the USAID/Armenia John Allelo, and other officials attended the event.
“Within the framework of the program, we managed to bring the conditions of educational institutions and regional centers of pedagogical and psychological support in line with the requirements of inclusiveness in our three regions - Syunik, Lori and Shirak. Despite the difficulties, we were able to bring the program to a logical conclusion, and today we see together what new conditions have been created to provide children with the necessary services,” said ESCS Minister Zhanna Andreasyan.
According to the Minister, universal inclusion is a reality both in preschool and preliminary and secondary vocational education. The main objective is the advancement of the capacities of the Regional Pedagogical-Psychological Support Centers to support educators, teachers, and lecturers, as well as to assess the needs of pupils and provide necessary services that are not unavailable at the educational institution level.
Zhanna Andreasyan also highly appreciated the cooperation with partners, within the scope of which work was carried out to improve universal inclusivity: “I think today, on the one hand, we are summing up the results, on the other hand, we are recording the interim outcomes of reforms aimed at strengthening inclusiveness in the education system. I am very glad that on this long and difficult path, we have such reliable partners as the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the US Government, together with whom we have implemented this important program.”
ESCS Deputy Minister Araksia Svajyan added that inclusive education and the creation of educational opportunities for every child is one of the fundamental principles of state policy. “The structures created to support this process should provide conditions that enable any child to receive support when needed.”
According to the director of the Regional Pedagogical-Psychological Support Center Sasun Harutyunyan, the Center has been supporting also preschool educational institutions since 2022.VET schools and colleges will also be included in 2023. In total, the Vanadzor Regional Pedagogical-Psychological Support Center will serve 92 schools, 23 preschool institutions, and 6 colleges, including the Alaverdi branch.
In his welcoming speech, the Mission Director of the USAID/Armenia John Allelo evaluated the effectiveness of the cooperation with the ESCS Ministry, noting:
“We believe that inclusive education in schools helps to create an atmosphere of respect. By creating an environment in which everyone is honest with each other and accepts the individual differences of others, inclusive education becomes acceptable to society. Thus, cases of bullying, crime and gender discrimination among the youth are reduced both inside and outside educational institutions.”
Deputy Governor of Lori Hovhannes Avetisyan also expressed gratitude for the implementation of the program and cooperation. He expressed confidence that local self-government bodies are always ready to provide possible assistance to state and international programs for the benefit of community development.
The guests toured the Regional Pedagogical-Psychological Support Center, and got acquainted with the conditions, didactic content and activities. Within the framework of the program, 5 rooms and 7 primary-need infrastructures were renovated and equipped.
In the scope of the “Strengthening the Inclusive Education System in Armenia” five-year program, 27 secondary schools in Syunik, Shirak and Lori regions of the Republic of Armenia have been renovated, property and equipment for out-of-school services were provided, as well as small-scale repairs in 3 pedagogical-psychological support centers, renovation of resource rooms in each center and provision of furniture and educational games were organized.