Armenian culture has a deep tradition of respect for learning stretching back to its ancient origins. Now modern Armenian institutions are working to boost the technological capacities of the young to secure future success
Education and learning using Armenia’s unique alphabet stretch back to the fifth century, and a 100% literacy rate was reported as early as 1960. Today’s challenge is to combine traditional strengths with new techniques to provide the innovative thinking needed for tomorrow.
This is happening in Armenia thanks to a broad variety of educational initiatives, including the Tumo Center for Creative Technologies, a highly innovative free-of-charge learning hub that has provided an open environment for 14,000 teenagers to explore the digital sphere and learn from IT professionals since it opened in 2011. Tumo students advance through the centre’s learning program based on their individual preferences within four focus areas: animation, game development, web development and digital media.
“We want them to have the 21st-century skills and be competitive in the global marketplace of services and tech. But we also want them to learn soft skills like collaboration, communication and initiative taking. The Tumo kid has a versatility and self-confidence that makes them unstoppable,” explains Pegor Papazian, a technologist who contributes to the centre’s educational programme.
Tumo wants to harness what Papazian calls Armenia’s tradition of “geeky” intelligence, the same thinking that is behind the recent introduction of chess as a compulsory activity in state education.
Another trailblazer is UWC Dilijan, part of the United World Colleges network. Opened in 2014, it is bringing priceless international experience to its more than 200 students from 82 countries in the 2017-18 intake. The first cohort to have graduated from the International Baccalaureate programme at the inspiringly modern greenfield campus has gone on to study at leading universities around the world, including Yale, Columbia and King’s College London.
In higher education, Armenia boasts more than 60 universities and is part of the European Higher Education Area under the Bologna Process.