National Program for Educational Excellence
The third and last face to face training of AB teachers-candidates was held at Ayb School. It focused on creativity, question-based assessment, analysis and presentation of research data, individual learning, pedagogical and subject-specific knowledge and education trends. Each of the topics contained both theoretical and practical components.
Having completed this training, teachers will embark on the probation period set for AB teacher-candidates. Teachers will conduct classroom researches and will be expected to use in practice the skills and knowledge they acquired during the trainings.
On July 12-18, Senior Lecturer in Education Jacek Brant from UCL (University College London) Institute of Education was in Armenia. This recurrent visit of Mr. Brant pursued mainly two goals:
- To train AB senior teachers – Develop their pedagogical and subject-specific knowledge and introduce them to new teaching approaches. Providing that AB senior teachers will mentor AB candidate teachers, their full pedagogical and subject-specific knowledge will ensure productive mentor-mentee collaboration. The teachers were also introduced to the classroom study assessment approaches and how assessment tables should be employed.
- To review and localize the entire AB teacher training program – During his visit, Mr. Brant reviewed and further localized the entire training content, theoretical and practical materials, format and assessment portfolio in accordance with the teaching and learning needs of our teachers’ community and cultural peculiarities.
Late August marked an event that was groundbreaking for the National Program for Educational Excellence and the Ayb Educational Foundation at large – the Araratian Baccalaureate Armenian-language educational program was found comparable to such international and reputable education programs as the UK GCE A Level and the U.S. Advanced Placement (AP).
One of the most reputable agencies of recognition and comparison of international qualifications and skills in the world – UK NARIC – carried out the extensive and lasting benchmarking of the AB program. It means that the education Armenian students get in their native language is equivalent to international standards, competitive and does not lag behind top educational platforms. Thus, thanks to Ayb’s years-long efforts and collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Science over the past two years, Armenia has appeared among those few countries which have developed an internationally recognized school qualification. Moreover, Armenia’s case is exceptional as the program has been developed in Armenian and not in English.
In addition, AB’s comparability means that after completing this three-year program Armenian students will be able to take international exams in Armenian and based on their results, get admitted to top universities around the world or be granted credits in those universities.
On September 27, Deputy Director at University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) Dan Bray paid a visit to Armenia. Mr. Bray arrived in Armenia prior to his working visit to Kazakhstan per his own wish and had thus changed his route. Mr. Bray spent around 7 hours in Armenia. His main goal was to meet partners from Ayb Foundation and learn about the works carried out within the framework of the National Program for Educational Excellence. Mr. Bray’s visit to Armenia spoke not only of high-level collaboration between Armenia and Cambridge but also of the importance CIE attaches to the Araratian Baccalaureate, as the guest noted, their high interest in the program is accounted by the rapid success and visible results it managed to achieve in such a short period of time. Turns out this fact is encouraging not only for us, but for Cambridge as well.
Despite the tight schedule, Dan Bray also managed to tour the Ayb School – the first school in Armenia which offers the AB program. The environment and learning process impressed the honorable guest so much that at the end of the meeting he said that from what he saw at Ayb School, Armenian education has all preconditions to appear among top educational programs one day.
While the previous quarter stood out with the abundance of contests and award ceremonies, this quarter was full of ground works, which will pave the way for a competition-ful fourth quarter. The main activities included:
- National phase of the World Robot Olympiad (WRO).
- Visit to the presidential residence.
- Mailing of Meghu 2016 invitation packages to schools.
- Mailing of invitation packages for Russian Bear 2016 and All-Armenian Tournament of Young Chemists to schools.
World Robot Olympiad
On July 7-8, the national phase of the famous World Robot Olympiad was held in Armenia for the first time. The competition involved 7 teams. The tough competition between the robots ended in the evening when the jury named the winner – Arm Cyber Kids collective team, which will leave for New Delhi on November 25-27 to represent Armenia in the WRO international stage.
Visit to the presidential residence
On August 31, a delegation comprised of Kangaroo 2016 and Meghu 2015 prizewinners as well as students that had registered best results in each region and in each age group paid a visit to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, where they were handed down a blessing and had a chance to tour the Museum. Afterward, they were hosted by the Armenian President at the presidential residence. The President congratulated the winners and expressed his gratitude for their excellence.
Meghu 2016 invitation packages
On September 13, invitation packages to participate in the upcoming Meghu contest were sent to over 1270 schools in Armenia and Artsakh. Students of the 3rd to 12th grades are eligible to participate in the completion. Meghu 2016 will be held on October 27.
Invitation packages for Russian Bear 2016 and All-Armenian Tournament of Young Chemists
On September 30, invitation packages to participate in Russian Bear 2016 and All-Armenian Tournament of Young Chemists were sent to over 550 schools in Armenia and Artsakh. Russian Bear 2016 will be held on November 15, while the quarter-final of the All-Armenian Tournament of Young Chemists will be held on November 26.
Activities planned for next reporting period
- October 27 – Meghu 2016 contest
- November 15 – Russian Bear 2016 contest
- November 26 – quarter-final of the All-Armenian Tournament of Young Chemists
National Song and Dance Academy
On July 8, a Memorandum of Understating was signed with the RA Ministry of Education and Science. By the memorandum, the National Song and Dance Academy (NSDA) officially becomes a specialized national song and dance foundation in Armenia.
On August 22-31, an intensive training for song and dance teachers was held. On the whole, 112 teachers from schools in Yerevan (59 teachers) and regions close to Yerevan (53 teachers) have taken part in the training up to this date. The trainings included practical song and dance classes as well as general introduction to the subject and its delivery methodology. The 6-8 hour-long trainings were delivered by members of Karin Traditional Song and Dance and artistic director Gagik Ginosyan. Upon completion, all participants were awarded certificates.
The technical task of the electronic archive of national song and dance materials has been devised. It involves the general structure of the electronic archive. It has already been submitted to and approved by the Board of Trustees. The physical archive system has also been developed and approved by the Board of Trustees.
- Elaboration of a unique Teacher Advisory Handbook for teachers of 5th through 7th grades, i.e. the classes where the subject is offered. The handbook will contain illustrations and a clear action plan for each class, including how teachers should start the song and dance class, how they should deliver it, etc.
- Development of National Song and Dance Academy’s website. The entire website content is ready. Negotiations with various companies are underway to see which of them will be entrusted the creation of the NSDA website.
Activities planned for next reporting period
- Model lesson at Ayb School – On October 9, a model lesson will be held during the Ayb Games. It will be instructional and will come with an updated program.
- Training of teachers in remote regions – This training is scheduled for October 30-November 6, during the fall vacations.
- Development and launch of the electronic archive.
- Development of the NSDA website.