13-12-2009
Non formal education
The majority of Armenian youth has no idea about non formal education.
The majority of Armenian youth has no idea about non formal education. The concept of “non formal education” is often defined as an organized educational activity that is out of the frames of present formal education. As a rule while applying this method offered by social sector of state the factor of systematized exams and certificate giving is less emphasized. Non formal education appeared in Armenia about two decades ago. Today the method is defined not only by specialists but also by the state. In December of 2006 the government confirmed the conception of “Non formal education”, which defines the concepts concerning to it, distinguishes between the objects as well as principles and problems in the sphere of policy system of RA. The existence of this document is very important, but still it is unreasonable to speak about precise actions. The interested sides of the sphere are sure that non formal education is not well developed yet. There are several important issues about the development of non formal educational system singled out by the specialists of the sphere. A matter of an utmost importance is small number of youth and the lack of information in the sphere. It is a fact that many of them are involved in different kind of local and international trainings, but still not many of them knows about non formal education. “Have a talk with a young man before and after some serious training and then you can understand the important role of non formal education in his development and self-realization” claims the young scientist Yeznik Mirzoyan. This young man has participated in various seminars and today holds the post of deputy director of library of Yerevan State University. He is sure that it is impossible to fill a post without attendance of any non formal education; “Of course if you are not going to limit your opportunities of gaining professional knowledge and having progress”, he adds. 86% of youth who take part in the inquiry within the frames of “National youth report” published in 2007 was unaware of non formal education. The others could hardly speak about its essence. The vice president of Analytic Agency of “National pool of trainers” Areg Tadevosyan assures that the arithmetical picture is almost the same today, nothing has changed: “Not only ordinary youth is unaware but also a great number of young men who work in this sphere and 60% of Armenian trainers can not define what non formal education is. The absolute majority has not read the sphere adjusting conception”, announces Areg Tadevosyan who periodically communicates with trainers. .Member of Directorate of Youth and Sport Council of Europe Ruben Markosyan notes that the absence of regulation in this sphere and low development is the main reason that anyone calls himself a trainer and as a result the whole system is being defamed. However there are also well prepared trainers in our country that are not inferior to European specialists. The main obstacle hindering non formal education from being practiced on a large scale is the limited number of the specialists. Our skilled specialists teach in foreign countries because of being underpaid. “So the financial factor plays an important role. It is a bit difficult for a young man understand the reason of paying 150 ₤ to another young man in order to study some youthful things especially if that amount is equal to his salary. On the other hand a good specialist can not refuse the opportunity of earning 205₤ abroad’ notes Areg Tadevosyan. The other obstacle for the development of this method is the wrong idea about non formal education, which is not intended to substitute the higher education.” Non formal education aims to develop the person’s political, civil, social, economical and cultural involvement in the public affairs; his abilities, skills, value system and knowledge are obtained outside of formal education or parallel to it”. Within the conception of non formal education it is described as a method intended for the development of person’s individual and team collaboration, self-expression. The professional knowledge is not enough for a young man living in informative society to find a job. It is possible to get a job immediately after graduating from University only if you master some systemized knowledge which is out of the frames of formal education. Though there are some organizations having their own training centers, the development of non formal education is something important for those who realize its importance. The tradition of non formal education is absent in student organizations. In spite of fact that the representatives realize the importance of non formal education they have never discussed it seriously. The president of Yerevan State University Student Scientific organization Karlen Khachatryan notes that the program of non formal education is not realized in University and neither there is cooperation with other organizations offering this program but he assures “We do not underestimate the importance of non formal education in the development of a future citizen’s, scientist’s and just for a good specialist; we can not be involved in it now”. The president of Analytic Agency of “National pool of trainers” Areg Tadevosyan assures that the indifferent attitude of the youth is because of unawareness. ”When the young man feels the importance of non formal education he realizes the further effectiveness of his work also in other conditions and he become willing to pay for the services of non formal education. BSC private organizations holding seminars have been functioning since 1994. Elen Manukyan (who does not have clear idea about non formal education) is the responsible of organization, representing non formal education programs, mentions that majority of their clients have jobs and need some skills. “Very often seminars are organized for staff members of some concrete organization which pays for them but this is again a result of individual initiative that receives an improvement by the leaders of organization. However there are also some acquisitions in this sphere that somehow show the increasing role of non formal education in our country. The differentiation between formal and non formal education, is the first a noticeable change. The majority of Armenian higher educational institutions imply the methods of non formal education. As a rule they are realized by concrete lecturers within the frames of concrete subjects. There are some co-operations between Armenian higher education and non formal studies. Everyone who is interested in strengthening this unity has his function. In the process of development and regulation of this sphere the role of state is of special importance. The main step is undertaken by the government of RA.” The acceptance of this conception is an important step for the development of non formal education and there are some countries that do not have any legal documents regulating this sphere” notes Areg Tadevosyan. It is worth mentioning that conception was accepted 4 years ago but still remains as an official document. Ruben Markosyan affirms that realizing the importance of non formal education its development can not be left to discretion of public sector or some individuals as these individuals can do nothing. In order to have serious acquisitions in this sphere the state sector should take upon the responsibility and motivate those who are interested. Areg Tadevosyan assumes that all necessary steps are undertaken, all programs are made up and it is high time to realize whatever is written in document. The phase of propagating is over, now it is time to take decisive steps in order to develop this sphere.