After gaining independence in 1991, Armenia shifted away from Soviet control. The country’s constitution, which Armenia implemented in 1995, determined that Armenia was a democratic state. Since then, the country has placed a significant emphasis on its education system, including university and college education. Here are six facts about higher education in Armenia.
6 Facts About Higher Education in Armenia
- Armenia’s Constitution Mandates Free Primary and Secondary Education: Article 39 of Armenia’s constitution grants all Armenians access to education. However, access to higher education can be more challenging.
- The Privatizing of Armenia’s Institutions: Armenia has had 22 state and 73 private higher education institutions as of 2010. Most of the institutions reside in the Armenian capital Yerevan where around a third of the population lives. However, as the bulk of higher-level education shifted toward privatization, Armenians have become limited in their options of pursuing a quality university education.
- Higher Education is Becoming Less Affordable: In 2013, 11 Armenian higher-level education institutions increased tuition fees by 50%. For example, the lowest-priced university translates to $480 a year, while the Armenian minimum wage translates to $110 per month. This means that many Armenians can no longer afford higher education. However, those who can afford it lack incentive as neighboring institutions can offer higher quality schooling at a lesser price.
- Armenia Has a Low Expenditure on Education: Armenia planned to expand education to cover up to 4% of the total GDP but only 2.5% went toward it in 2016. In 2018, this number dropped to as low as 2.2%. This is problematic because as the number continues to fall, Armenia could have challenges providing the proper resources to keep institutions flowing. The challenges of staffing enough professors to combat the deficiencies in educational funding could become an issue as well.
- Armenia Entered the Bologna Process in 2005: The Bologna Process is an intergovernmental higher education reform initiative that expands through more than 40 European countries. By joining this initiative, Armenia has sought to level itself with fellow European nations’ education. Above all, granting oversight and aid ensures that Armenia will not see a regression in the caliber of its education system. Integrating with fellow European countries could also alleviate the incentive for Armenian students to seek college or university education outside of Armenia.
- Armenia Adults Had a 99.6% Literacy Rate as of 2012: Armenia does not have a high population of illiterate people. Men and women share a near-identical literacy rate, and Armenia ranks among the highest percentile regarding literacy. The high rates contribute to increased enrollment in primary and secondary education. As many Armenians continue to be well-read, the goal to reach higher education remains high.
As Armenia centralized its government post-Soviet rule, it has placed greater attention on sustaining a high level of schooling and taking precautionary measures to ensure education is on the rise. While higher education remains accessible to most, Armenia has room to improve. However, Armenians can feel optimistic that higher education is becoming more accessible and that resources are continuing to improve.
– James Van Bramer