The 4th quarter of 2016 was significant for the Ayb Foundation both due to its 10th anniversary, with a number of spectacular educational events, and significant personnel changes on the managerial level.
Ayb celebrates 10th anniversary
On October 7-9, in celebration of the 10th birth anniversary of the idea of Ayb Club and of the Ayb Educational Foundation, a number of festive and educational events were conducted.
We had a big public event in one of the most popular corners of Yerevan – in Cafesjian Sculpture Park (Cascade). Ayb School students conducted open demonstration classes and scientific experiments in booth-classrooms placed in the park, involving young and elder passers-by and guests of the park. In the evening, a concert program began: Ayb School choir, the School’s Battle of Evermore rock band and AyBar dance group performed during the concert.
Instead of long phrases, let’s just watch a short film about that day. Happy birthday, Ayb
Traditionally, when Ayb Club members are in Armenia, we organize master classes. This time, three master classes were held at Ayb School. The classes were delivered by Ayb Club members, world-renowned specialists David Yang (co-founder and Chairman of Boards at IT companies ABBYY, iiko, and Findo, USA), Ruben Harutyunyan (entrepreneur, Founder and General Director of Henderson-Russia Group of Companies, Russia), and Aram Pakhchanian (Vice President of ABBYY, Head of Ayb School, Armenia).
And, of course, one can’t imagine October without Ayb Games. Uniting, as usual, several hundreds of Ayb community members, the most popular and awaited festival of sports and intellectual games was conducted at Ayb School. The event was flavored with demonstrations of amazing scientific experiments of the Science with Experiments Club of the School.
Personnel changes at Ayb Foundation
By the decree No. 1165-Ա of the Prime Minister of Armenia, dated December 8, 2016, Executive Director of the Ayb Educational Foundation Davit Sahakyan was appointed Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Armenia. A few days later, the name of the new Executive Director of the Ayb Educational Foundation was known. On December 16, by decision of the Board of Trustees of the Ayb Educational Foundation, Sona Koshetsyan, who has been with Ayb since 2009, assumed the duties of Acting Executive Director of the Foundation.
Sona first held the position of AybLab Project Manager; she also played a significant role in the establishment and development of Ayb School, simultaneously holding the position of Deputy Director responsible for the school’s development projects. She is the Founding Head of Dilijan Central School. In October 2016, Sona Koshetsyan resigned the duties of the Dilijan Central School Director and assumed the position of Deputy Director at the Ayb Educational Foundation to lead the School Enrolment and Coordination Department of the Araratian Baccalaureate program.
We are confident that Davit Sahakyan’s access to the state educational system will open up new horizons for Armenia’s educational system, resulting in positive and tangible results; and under the leadership of Sona Koshetsyan, Ayb will continue to develop and prosper confidently.
Let’s summarize the activity of the Ayb Foundation during the fourth quarter for separate programs.
National Program for Educational Excellence
From October 31 to November 5, specialists of the UCL Institute of Education, Guy Durden and Dr. Jacek Brant, were on a visit in Armenia to conduct training for AB (senior) training teachers. This time the specialists focused on a number of important topics such as Lesson Study, Variation Theory, the role of teachers, and Individual Coaching.
On November 21-22, the representatives of the NPEE presented the Araratian Baccalaureate at the 20th Annual Conference of the United Kingdom National Academic Recognition Information Centre (UK NARIC) – the most prestigious educational event of the year. It should be reminded that the international benchmarking of the Araratian Baccalaureate was carried out by UK NARIC, which recognized the program as equivalent to UK GCE A Levels and the US Advanced Placement (AP). During the two-day conference, which was attended by more than 400 leading specialists from different countries of the world, a number of topics were discussed, including the future of international education, development trends and opportunities, importance of the English language, recognition of qualifications.
The NPEE representatives also visited the UCL Institute of Education (Ayb Foundation’s international partner in NPEE implementation), where they had meetings with assessment and curriculum development specialists.
The beta website of the Araratian Baccalaureate was launched in December. It is bilingual – English and Armenian.
From December 5 to 15, the delegation of the Ayb Foundation toured all regions of Armenia to present the Araratian Baccalaureate to schools that have the high school component. The purpose of the visits was to introduce the regional schools to the AB’s goals, vision, as well as the steps and requirements to join the program prior to the launch of the AB’s membership registration process. Over 800 representatives from 421 schools that offer the high school component (high schools, secondary schools, colleges, educational complexes) attended the meetings.
December 15 marked a truly historical day for Araratian Baccalaureate and NPEE, and for Ayb in general. On that day the RA government decided to:
- Permit introduction of the Araratian Baccalaureate educational program developed within the scopes of the National Program for Educational Excellence ինsecondary educational state institutions in regions of the Republic of Armenia.
- To allocate target places in HEIs of Armenia for the graduates of the schools implementing the Araratian Baccalaureate program.
- To recognize the Araratian Baccalaureate admission tests along with the unified, centralized, admission examinations. The Araratian Baccalaureate examinations are organized and conducted by the Ayb Educational Foundation jointly with the Assessment and Testing Center of Armenia.
- Within a six-month period the Minister of Education and Science of the RA will submit to the Government of the RA the plan of introducing the Araratian Baccalaureate educational program in regional schools.
On December 20, a press conference was held to announce the launch of affiliation of regional schools of the RA to the Araratian Baccalaureate program. Members of the AB membership candidate schools selection committee spoke at the conference: Deputy Minister of Education and Science of the RA Davit Sahakyan, Director of the National Program for Educational Excellence (NPEE) Fr. Mesrop Aramian, and member of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) Central Board, Chairman of AGBU Armenia Vasken Yacoubian.
The deadline for submission of the applications is January 27. The Ayb Foundation will start working with the schools that have successfully completed the application stage in order to involve teachers in the NPEE teacher development program as well as to ensure institutional development of those schools. AB classes will open already on September 1, 2018. Education by the AB program will be free of charge.
As mentioned in the previous quarterly report, the period from July to September was preparatory for the school contests department, due to which the fourth quarter of the year stood out with particular alacrity in school contests and high rate of participation.
- Three contests were conducted:
1. Meghu – Armenian for All;
2. Russian Bear Cub – Linguistics for All;
3. Quarterfinal of the All-Armenian Tournament of Young Chemists.
- Students of the All-Armenian Tournament of Young Chemists of 2015-2016 visited the Pedagogical University.
- The annual summit of the Kangourou sans Frontières (KSF) international association was held.
- Armenia participated in the World Robot Olympiad in India.
- Contest prizewinners visited the presidential residence.
Meghu – Armenian for All Contest
On October 27, the Meghu Contest, attended by 36,774 students from 942 schools of Armenia and Artsakh, was conducted for the third time in succession. The contest results were summarized in December, and in January 2017 all participant schools will receive a summary report on the results of their students.
Russian Bear Cub – Linguistics for All Contest
Օn November 15, 8187 students from 300 schools of Armenia and 13 schools of Stepanakert participated in the Russian Bear Cub Contest officially held in Armenia for the seventh time in a row. The contest results were summarized in December, and in January 2017 all participant schools will receive a summary report on the results of their students.
Quarterfinal of the All-Armenian Tournament of Young Chemists
The quarterfinal of the All-Armenian Tournament of Young Chemists was conducted in Ayb School on November 26, registering a record number of participants – 43 teams from Armenia and Artsakh with 208 participating students and 70 coaches and supervisors.
The teams solved problems, which were checked on site by the Expert Commission, and the names of the 12 teams qualified for the semifinal were announced. Those were: Evrika from Vanadzor, Rubin from Gyumri, Photon from Gyumri, Karborund from Gyumri, Win from Abovyan, Oganeson from Yerevan, Sirius from Yerevan, Monteaberd from Artsakh, Argon from Yerevan, Helios from Hrazdan, Alkimik from Abovyan, and Heratsi from Yerevan. The semifinals and final will be conducted in April 2017.
Young chemists visited the Pedagogical University
Back in April, the Khachatur Abovyan Armenian State Pedagogical University (ASPU) expressed its wish to host the 9 teams that had passed to the semi-final stage of the All-Armenian Tournament of Young Chemists 2015-2016 and to organize a special tour for them in the university. The visit was organized on October 5 and 6. The students conducted interesting and exciting experiments, such as Volcano, Tricolor Flag, Winter in a Cup, Eskimo, Chemical Blood, Magic Foam, etc. Such visits tend to become traditional.
Annual Summit of the Kangourou sans Frontières (KSF) International Association
From October 26 to 30, Gagik Grigoryan, KSF’s authorized representative in Armenia, and Shoushan Karapetyan, School Contests Project Manager at the Ayb Educational Foundation, participated in the 24th annual meeting of the Kangourou sans Frontières (KSF) International Association. Regular elections of KSF’s president were conducted and a complete package of the Kangaroo 2017 contest tasks for all age groups was prepared within the four working days of the summit. Each country will translate these tasks and will keep them strictly confidential until the day of the contest.
It is encouraging that Armenia remains among the most active Kangaroo participant countries.
World Robot Olympiad International Stage
On November 26-27, the Arm Cyber Kids team, winner of the national stage of the World Robot Olympiad (WRO) in Armenia, participated in the international stage of the WRO held in New Delhi, India, under the motto “Wrap the Scrap.” Our young students represented Armenia gloriously on this important international platform. Competing in the elementary school age group and contesting with 83 rival teams, Arm Cyber Kids took the 21st place, which is an excellent result, considering that Armenia was a newcomer in WRO.
Contest prizewinners visited the presidential residence
On December 26, 8 winners of Meghu 2015, Russian Bear Cub 2015, Kangaroo 2016 and the World Robot Olympiad visited the presidential residence for the traditional event, when children distinguished during the previous academic year are hosted by the president of the country. The heroes of the day left the festive event in a happy mood, with new books and other gifts.
(Please note that the winners of the All-Armenian Tournament of Young Chemists don’t participate in the event, since it is intended for children aged under 12).
National Song and Dance Academy
On October 5, 2016, the National Song and Dance Academy (NSDA) Educational and Cultural Foundation celebrated its 1st anniversary. On this occasion, as well as Ayb’s 10th anniversary, several events were conducted from October 7 to 9, including open dance classes and performances, which, as usual, highly inspired all participants.
On October 24, Ayb School hosted a meeting with national dance specialist Tom Bozigian who has greatly contributed to the revival of national dances. Tom, who knows more than 300 dances, answered all questions of the meeting attendants and, despite his respectable age (the master is 79!), danced with great energy and enthusiasm and taught the audience several of the dances that he had written down.
At the end of the meeting, the NSDA Educational and Cultural Foundation awarded Tom with a Letter of Acknowledgment for his great contribution to preservation and popularization of Armenian national dances.
From October 30 to November 6, the second stage of teachers’ training was conducted (the first stage was conducted on August 22-31 and was attended by 112 teachers). 125 teachers of national songs and dances of grades 5, 6, and 7 participated in the training.
Upon completion of the training, the overwhelming majority of the participants successfully passed the exams, and those who didn’t manage to reach the benchmark, attended a special three-day training at the end of November. The training was conducted by Karin Traditional Song and Dance Ensemble members and personally Artistic Director of the group, co-founder and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of NSDA Gagik Ginosyan. As a result, 95% of all participants got the right to carry the title of national song and dance teacher.
All participants who successfully completed the training performed a closing concert on December 27. The representatives of the National Institute of Education and the Ministry of Education and Science of the RA awarded the participants with certificates of national song and dance teacher, which enable them to teach the subject in secondary schools of Armenia for the next three years (after that the teachers will need to be retrained).
On the same day, NSDA also awarded 28 teachers with special diplomas; these teachers had displayed brilliant knowledge and results during the training. Seven teachers of Karin, who taught songs and dances during the trainings, were awarded with Letters of Acknowledgment.
The electronic archive of NSDA has been developed completely and is now at the stage of filling up. It is scheduled that in 2017 the archive will be replenished with already digitized materials, and the Academy will have the opportunity to digitize materials on its own and develop scientific substantiation for them.