The number of “Armath” engineering laboratories has increased by 350 in Armenian schools during 2019. Out of 350 labs, 284 were installed by the state budget support and 66 were acquired with the support of private companies. As a result, as of January 1, 2019, only 225 engineering laboratories operated in the country. Now their number has reached 575: the number has increased by 150%.
This was announced by the Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports Arayik Harutyunyan, Executive Director of the Union of Advanced Technology Enterprises (UATE) Karen Vardanyan, Tavush Governor Hayk Chobanyan, Lori Governor Andrey Ghukasyan and Gyumri Deputy Governor Vardan Gasparyan in a joint press conference.
“This year the number of engineering laboratories has increased considerably. Technological education development is one of the priorities of the Ministry and the Government: such knowledge is an important precondition for building a technologically advanced State”- stated the Minister and noted that the program will be ongoing. According to Mr. Harutyunyan, the 21st century is an era of technological knowledge, and education in laboratories is required for both programmers and engineers, as well as children with other interests.
As stated by the executive director of UATE Karen Vardanyan, the creation of "Armath" engineering laboratories is the basis of a multi-stage technological program. “The children, attending the labs, master 3D Modelling, Robotics and know at least one programming language. Another step and they will become young IT specialists and enter the labor market. We have such an experience in Vanadzor. Elder students attending “Armath” labs already work in IT company, of course, with parents' permission”- noted the director adding that steps should be taken for IT companies to establish regional branches and keep the workforce in place.
All the secondary schools of Shirak, Lori, and Tavush regions are equipped with “Armath” laboratories. Out of 140 schools of Shirak, region labs were installed in 117 schools; out of 140 schools of Lori region labs were installed in 118 schools; in Tavush region, new labs were installed in 44 schools out of 83 (the rest of schools were equipped with labs during the past years). “I am happy that in 2016 I had the opportunity to open the first “Armath” laboratory in Tavush region, and yesterday we opened the last one, completing the regional project. It was a great dream, success, and an opportunity to fall in love with technology” – stated the Governor of Tavush region H. Chobanyan.
According to the governor of Lori region, “Armath” engineering laboratories will operate in all schools of the region starting from January, which will completely change the learning environment of a school. “Later, Vanadzor Technological Center may become a workplace for the students of the engineering laboratories” – stated the Governor.
During the current year, engineering laboratories were also installed in schools of Artsakh and Javakhk. In the future, the program of replenishment of engineering laboratories will be expanded. The laboratories won’t be installed only at schools with less than 33 pupils. "Armath” laboratories are designed for children aged 10-18, classes are free, up to 18 children can be enrolled in a group.
Thus, Armenia ranks among the countries of the world where STEM education in the form of engineering laboratories is available in about 50% of schools in the general education system.