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Hello and welcome to Armenian News Network, Groong. I’m Hovik Manucharyan.
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In this Conversation On Groong episode, Asbed Kotchikian along with two esteemed guests delve into the norms, educational outcomes, success factors and pedagogy of the controversial government-proposed reforms of the K-12 educational system in Armenia. Today we focus specifically in the areas of Armenian history, and literature.
In recent months, Armenia’s government has published its proposal for K-12 curriculum reform in Armenian schools. The new curriculum, which includes education standards and learning outcomes, proved to be quite controversial with many individuals and groups criticizing one aspect or another of the proposed curriculum notably the segments on literature and Armenian history. These criticisms ranged from in-depth critique of the content of the proposed plan to outlandish and sometimes baseless accusations. In order to shed some light on this issue specifically the history and literature components of the new proposed curriculum, this week we have invited two scholars who have been following these debates and the content of the new curriculum intimately.
Asbed Kotchikian is a senior lecturer of political science and international relations at Bentley University in Massachusetts where he teaches courses on the Middle East and former Soviet space. Prof. Kotchikian is also a consultant for international organizations on issues of judicial reform, ways to combat radicalization and on ethnic and religious minorities. He discusses the proposed reforms with:
Prof. Ara Sanjian is Associate Professor of History and the Director of the Armenian Research Center at University of Michigan, Dearborn. He received his undergraduate degree from Yerevan State University (YSU) in what was then the Soviet Republic of Armenia, and has been involved in numerous academic projects in Armenia. His research interests focus on the post-World War I history of Armenia, Turkey and the Arab states of Western Asia. And:
Prof. Siranush Dvoyan is a literary studies scholar and associate professor of Armenian and Comparative Literature at the American University of Armenia. She is a graduate of YSU and taught there for over a decade.
● Brief background
● The background of the current proposed curriculum: When was it conceived and what has its development process been like and who were involved in the committee?
● In terms of content, how does the proposed curriculum compare to the previous one? What are some of the main changes, additions, omissions?
○ In literature?
○ In history?
● About the standards and measurements of the proposed curricula: How realistic and feasible are the norms, standards and measurable outcomes as defined by the new curriculum?
● About the implementation (pedagogy) of the proposed curricula: how feasible is it? Is there a trained and knowledgeable workforce of teachers and instructors with mastery of the proposed content, to deliver it with excellence to students?
● Rating of the current AND the proposed curricula.
● History Education in Schools in Turkey and Armenia: A Critique and Alternatives - Caucasus Edition
That concludes this week’s Conversation On Groong on Armenia’s debate on Educational Reform. Despite some of the rhetoric, we’re encouraged that so many segments of society have become engaged in this national discussion and are bringing their input into the mix. We’ll continue following this discussion and keep you abreast on the topic as it progresses.
We hope this Conversation has helped your understanding of some of the issues involved. We look forward to your feedback, including your suggestions for Conversation topics in the future. Contact us on our website, at groong.org, or on our Facebook Page “ANN - Groong”, or in our Facebook Group “Groong - Armenian News Network”.
Special thanks to Laura Osborn for providing the music for our podcast. I’m Hovik Manucharyan, and on behalf of everyone in this episode, I wish you a good week. Thank you for listening and talk to you next week.