Ayb Learning Hub
The Ayb Learning Hub program’s development remains one of Ayb Foundation’s core goals.
The Ayb School’s new building is under active construction. It is primarily designed for 200 students, grades 5 to 9, but will host the studies of elementary and high school students as well. The four-story building includes laboratories and workshops, an art studio, gym, hall-amphitheater, recreation and game zones. The building is expected to open in the fall of 2016.
The Science and Technology Museum Center, yet another component of the Ayb Learning Hub, gives hope for progress, too. Discussions are already underway with professionals from respective international scientific and educational centers. A project committee comprising of several Ayb Club members and a working group from Ayb Foundation staff have been established. The museum center is a new platform that will stimulate interest in science among students and give them an opportunity to study experimental sciences, as well as foster the professional development of teachers. It will be a place which combines learning, innovation and modern solutions for the development of the scientific thought. The center will make science accessible for people of different age.
The National Program for Educational Excellence
NPEE’s greatest achievement of the last few months has been the recognition of the Araratian Baccalaureate (AB) program by the Ministry of Education and Science as an alternative education program in Armenia. The international recognition process is also moving forward full speed: Cambridge International Examinations has already accredited the AB as being equivalent to A Levels. Recognition process by the United Kingdom national agency for the recognition and comparison (UK NARIC) is also nearing its final stages and is expected to be completed by end of summer. After the AB is recognized by these two substantial institutions, the recognition of other international prestigious educational institutions is only a matter of time.
Thus Ayb’s efforts during recent years within the framework of NPEE will give every student in Armenia a chance to receive Armenian language top-notch education in line with international standards, which will be accredited by foreign universities without the need for additional examinations.
NPEE’s first steps in Artsakh were discussed on February 1st with Artsakh President Bako Sahakyan. The opening of an Araratian Baccalaureate high school in Stepanakert was the main topic of the discussion. President Sahakyan showed his willingness to support the realization of the program and to promote the new educational program’s implementation in Artsakh.
Another notable achievement of NPEE in 2015 was the certification of the first and second groups of trained teachers. This means that these teachers, whose training and certification was conducted by experts from the University College London Institute of Education (IoE) in the course of nine months, are now entitled to train new groups of other teachers. This is the first big step towards developing NPEE’s certified teacher community, who will teach the Araratian Baccalaureate program in schools throughout the country.
The University College London Institute of Education (IoE) senior expert Jacek Brant paid another visit to Armenia to evaluate AB advanced skills teachers and senior teachers, and to check out their research work. In addition he worked with teachers to examine continuous assessment, summative assessment, and homework policy. He also spoke about pedagogical content knowledge and how teachers can create new knowledge from static substantive knowledge and expertise as teachers to make it relevant to students.
On March 18-20 a new phase of trainings for AB teachers began at Ayb School. NPEE senior teachers who have completed a nine-month training course by experts from the University College London Institute of Education (IoE) will be conducting these trainings for new groups of teachers. Fourteen Ayb School teachers participated in this three-day intensive and interactive workshop. The training of these teachers will take 20 weeks, and their certification as NPEE teachers will then follow.
Great Britain’s Mathematics Association President Dr. Jenny Golding’s visit to Armenia also took place, and those math teachers involved in NPEE participated in a series of meetings, discussions and trainings.
International School Contests
The department within Ayb Foundation which is responsible for organizing a series of international school contents in Armenia continues efforts toward introducing new interesting and fun contests to Armenian students. Here is a brief overview of the previous half-year’s statistics:
- “Meghu. Armenian for all” contest was hosted in Armenia and Artsakh engaging 998 schools and 42,000 students.
- “Russian Bear Cub – Linguistics for All” contests took place in 313 schools in Armenia and 13 schools in Stepanavan, and approximately 8,500 students participated.
- The 5th All-Armenian Tournament of Young Chemists took place, with 170 participants within 9 teams from 6 cities who moved on the semi-final round. In the second half of April they competed for the final place, during which both semi-final and final rounds took place.
By tradition, Armenian President Serj Sargsyan hosted “Kangaroo” and “Meghu” winners including both the finalists, as well as the highest scoring students from each age group in each region.
In March of this year Ayb Educational Foundation organized the “Kangaroo” contest for the eighth consecutive year in Armenia and for the six year in Artsakh. The competitions had 41,000 participants from 1012 schools. In April the answers for “Kangaroo” contests were graded, and the results were published. In the first half of May widespread award ceremonies will be held in over 30 cities of Armenia as well as in Stepanakert.
Towards the end of last year, Ayb Educational Foundation renewed its Memorandum of Cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports of Artsakh. Within the memorandum, Ayb and the Ministry of Education in Artsakh will continue to collaborate to organize “Kangaroo”, “Russian Bear Cub”, “Meghu” subject contests as well as the All-Armenian Tournament of Young Chemists. By continuing this important collaboration we strengthen ties between Artsakh and Armenian students and ensure that schools in Artsakh are not excluded from popular international and local education movements.
And perhaps one of the most interesting facts from Ayb Foundation’s school contests’ department: starting this year Ayb is brining yet another renown international contest to Armenia known as the World Robot Olympiad (WRO). This is a wonderful 21st century platform for mastering knowledge and skills of advanced robotics. Invitations have been sent out to 115 schools. The contest will take place in June.
National Song and Dance Academy
Towards the close of 2015 Ayb Educational Foundation, along with founder and artistic director of Karin traditional song and dance group, RA Distinguished Cultural Figure Gagik Ginosyan launched a joint initiative of great importance to the Armenian nation and founded the National Song and Dance Academy Cultural and Educational Foundation.
The National Song and Dance Academy will focus its efforts on preserving traditional songs and dances, scientific research, outreach, curricula and teacher development. It is very important for Armenia to become a leading country while at the same time preserve its national values, history, traditions, culture and, of course, identity. Thus, the academy will also have its input in this noble and pious goal.
The academy will include four branches, which together will greatly support Armenia culture:
The works of the educational branch will include coordination of cultural disciplines and preparation of appropriate professionals for school programs.
The branch of military dance will introduce military dances into military educational institutions and prepare military dance instructors.
The works of the cultural branch will be directed to teaching skills of choreography and scenic subject, to founding dance groups, recording and propagation of traditional songs and dances.
The works of the scientific branch will include collection, research, arrangement and preservation of national songs and dances.
The Academy’s logo and motto have already been approved.
Spirit, idea, identity
The number of supporters of the Academy continues to grow. Open dance classes are regularly organized aimed at educating community members and showing our national culture, as well as working to instill the importance of dance in the younger generation. The digital archiving process is also underway, aiming to create a digital library of all national songs and dances. The archive will include videos, photographs, schematic and printed materials, and will become a modern fully-equipped Armenian cultural center.
In March the newly named Minister of Education and Science Levon Mkrtchyan signed a memorandum of cooperation, underlining the importance of the program and promising state support on various issues.