Armenia’s tertiary education system today is presented with an enormous opportunity to reform, said in a World Bank SABER report on Armenian tertiary education.
According to the report, “the Velvet Revolution has opened new avenues to change the higher education system and make it more effective. New boards of trustees in public universities have been formed, and there is hope that they will act as independent and competent authorities. There is a clear need to develop a strategic approach to tertiary education, adopt a new law on higher education, and improve the governance of the system.”
At the same time, as noted, universities in Armenia are continuing to face serious financial strain as a result of the decrease in student population during the last two years, and some private universities may not survive in this situation.
The authors of the report made some recommendations to improve the quality of education in Armenia:
- There is an urgent need to have a strategy for higher education and a new law on higher education in order to set the course toward a joint vision for the sector and the country as “the current law is outdated, since it was adopted in 2004 even before Armenia joined the Bologna Process.”
- The governance system needs to provide a level playing field between public, private, and cross-border institutions in terms of basic regulation.
- To improve financial transparency, government should require all public universities to publicly report their financial data and should introduce performance-based funding, which could improve the overall quality of universities if performance were connected to relevant indicators, such as student graduation rates, student retention, postgraduate employment rates, and other criteria related to the college’s mission.
- While some financial aid programs are currently available for students, there is a need to make these policies more targeted and to expand need-based financial aid to cover living expenses.
- There is also a need to develop a student internal mobility system and to make learning paths more flexible.