“Center for Education Projects” PIU Summarizes “Education Improvement” Credit Project
With the co-financing of the World Bank and the support of the Center for Education Projects PIU of MESCS of RA the "Education Improvement" project was implemented during 2015-2021. The main goal of the program is to support the Government of the Republic of Armenia in directing the development of the education system to the needs of the knowledge-based economy, ensuring the growth of the quality of general education and higher professional education in accordance with the socio-economic requirements of the society. The project has taken into account the priorities of educational reforms, as well as has ensured the continuation and expansion of the activities implemented under the WB "Quality and Relevance of Education" second credit project (2009-2015). The project consists of two components, the first component includes 4 subcomponents. In the context of the subcomponent 1.1, the pre-school education programs helped to improve the Early Childhood Development Coefficient (EDP) points of the involved preschool students. Instead of the 134 preschools envisaged by the program, 136 were established during 2015-2020, the number of children enrolled in the preschools established within the framework of the program in the first year was 3,462. As a result of the programs implemented within the subcomponent 1.2, 13 high schools were renovated in two stages, in particular, the renovation of 5 high schools was carried out in the first stage, and the renovation of 8 high schools was completed in September of 2021 (with the exception of Goris N1 High School, construction works of which are in the stage of completion). In the context of subcomponent 1.2 in 107 high schools the process of equipping natural science laboratory with equipment and property has been carried out, as a result of which, 335 laboratories in Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Geography were established. Within the framework of the subcomponent 1.3, the basic and higher education management information system for general, secondary vocational and higher education is fully integrated and is being used by RA secondary schools and colleges. In 387 educational institutions that underwent training in 2018, CEP PIU carried out equipment-technical needs assessment in 2019, as a result of which 42 institutions were provided with interactive projectors, and 63 were provided with projectors. In addition, in 2020, one classroom was technically furnished in 101 educational institutions of the RA regions, 107 high schools were provided with a conference camera to organize distance learning and open lessons. In 2021, 272 schools were provided with projectors, and in 259 with laptops. Electronic educational resources (125 topics in total) have been developed for the topics missing in the textbooks of 4 subjects, particularly Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Geometry, taught in the basic and high schools of the Republic of Armenia, which are available at http://esource.armedu.am/. It should be noted that in 2020, the sub-section of each subject had an average of 200 thousand visits, instead of 100 thousand in 2019. Teachers՛ training and professional development, continuous integration of ICT in the educational process, and reforms in high schools have made significant contributions to such developments.
Within the framework of the sub-component 1.4, the National Strategic Document on General Education has been revised and approved by the government. Standards and curricula in 6 subject areas have been revised. Criteria and curricula for 3 STEM-oriented subjects have been revised within the framework of the "STEM" pilot program "EU in favor of innovation in Armenia". 6 Subject matter working groups and international experts working on subject standards and programs have developed educational materials for 20 testing schools according to the subjects and grades, which are being tested. According to the teachers who have realized 18 experiments, it is advisable to introduce curricula with new standards in the secondary schools of RA, if at the same time all the necessary conditions for the implementation of changes are provided. Within the framework of component 2 “Support to Competitive Innovation Fund” development three rounds of CIF grants were organized; first, second (additional) and second (main), each with six beneficiary universities respectively, a total of 18 programs. 7 of them are joint consortium projects with public and private sector structures. As a result of the programs implemented with the grant of the CIF, innovative laboratories, centers of excellence and other infrastructures were established and new professional educational programs were introduced in the RA universities. In the conditions of modern rapid development of educational needs, priority technologies, the continuous improvement of educational resources and educational environment for the improvement of the quality of education. For this purpose a common agenda and ongoing harmonization of public policy, programs of the World Bank and other international organizations involved are needed, which will lead to greater interaction and improved outcomes. The implementation of the WB "Education Improvement" credit proյect has registered tangible results in the field of education in Armenia and has had a positive impact. The implemented programs have created a good basis for initiatives for the development of general education and higher education. The study of "Education Improvement" credit proյect and its final evaluation research is available by the following link; https://www.cfep.am/files/legislation/647.pdf.