The goal of the OSIAF-Armenia National Education Program is to facilitate creation of a new, progressive and favorable education environment, which would encourage, help and serve the needs of the educational community. Among the key programmatic areas are: development and introduction of the community school model, enrichment of the educational content and provision of assistance to existing educational institutions through elaboration of appropriate curricula. The Program supports reforms in the field of general education in Armenia to democratize the school, to ensure transparency and improve administrative mechanisms, to incorporate high-tech tools in the education and to develop skills and enrich educational content through use of on-line resources.
In 2006 the National Institute of Education was supported to organize an international workshop entitled “Experiences in Education Reforms: National Experiences – Armenia, Georgia, Latvia, Norway and Serbia”. The goal of the workshop was to assist the Ministry of Education and its relevant agencies in enhancing education reform process in Armenia by providing the relevant stakeholders and decision makers with the insight into the international expertise and best practices from the countries that have undergone large-scale educational reforms. Invited experts shared their experiences in the following areas: education reform strategy and implementation with a particular focus on participatory approach of all stakeholders in development and implementation of all segments; curricula and teaching resources development; professional development of teachers; introduction of Civic Education into the school and its integration into National Curriculum. In-depth discussions and analysis of the current status of educational reforms, challenges and attitudes employed in different countries helped to develop common approaches and methodologies to implement the reforms more effectively and efficiently. The workshop was co-funded by USAID, UNICEF, OSCE, British Council, and OSI ESP in Budapest.
The Foundation’s target for 2008 was development of subject standards in Social Sciences, including Civic Education and Human Rights components for high schools. Based on the Memorandum of Understanding and the action plan designed together with the Ministry of Education and Science and National Institute of Education the working group for each subject was strengthened by the Foundation. Subject standards and two -level attainment targets were developed and presented to the Ministry of Education and Science. A three-day face to face work of the standards development working group with international experts, review of the developed materials both at local and international level resulted in full sustainability and institutionalization of this initiative. In 2008 the Foundation supported “Education without Boundaries” NGO to pilot subject standards in 30 schools of Armenia.
In 2008 the Foundation supported Community schools to strengthen community involvement targeting primarily the youth. Establishment of European clubs for youth and community in eight schools facilitates raising awareness of schoolchildren and community on European integration processes and issues, civic participation, voluntarism, and other related topics.
In 2008 the Foundation continued to further open society value in education through supporting three boarding schools in Yerevan to improve social and educational inclusion. The initiative worked to ensure that children with disabilities can participate in society and be treated as equal citizens with full respect for their human rights. The schools conducted outreach training courses for children with disabilities in the cities of Vanadsor, Echmiadzin, Gyumri, Artashat, Nor Hajn, Hrazdan and Tsakhkdzor with involvement of children from surrounding villages.
In 2008 the Foundation supported dissemination of education content and utilization of interactive teaching methodologies developed within the previous years. It should be mentioned that the Foundation has accumulated capacity that is unique in the country, particularly in this area, through its longstanding support to the YSU for development of electronic modules and training of teachers to utilize them. Thus, building on the past experience the Foundation has supported dissemination of set of 14 electronic content materials to all schools in Armenia.