Quality assurance, transparency and effective management in the focus of three-year partnership

The conference arranged within the framework of the World Bank Second Education Quality and Relevance Project (APL 2) with the view of summarizing the results of a cooperation programme between the University of Oulu (Finland) and Armenian State Pedagogical University (ASPU) kicked off in Yerevan on December 12.

Armen Ashotyan, Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Armenia, considered the programme to be the most successful in the sphere with its tangible results. The start of the programme was announced three years ago.

“The project Education Quality and Relevance should become the property of each and every participant of the education sector, rather than a report on the results of the implemented work. This is a concept which must be introduced in other universities as well so that we can have teaching methods and education techniques that meet European educational standards, syllabuses, and modern teaching tools ensuring the quality and productivity of education. These are the components of a quality education,” said Mr. Ashotyan. He went on to express his hope that the cooperation between the two universities will continue in the future.

The Minister also referred to the results of the programme and noted that in addition to financial and contextual support, the ASPU also had an opportunity to collaborate with one of the best universities of the world, the University of Oulu; the educational model of the University is a classic example in the field of pedagogy throughout Europe. With regard to the achievements of the Finnish University in the course of cooperation, Mr Ashotyan assured the presentees that the collaboration was equally beneficial for the Finnish side as it proved to be successful and enhanced internationalization.

“We believe that the programme was useful and effective.  In the result of cooperation and joint work we have developed new models of practice, new programmes for different subjects, methodological approaches and other components to reform the educational process,” ASPU Rector Rouben Mirzakhanyan said in his welcome speech.  He added that exchange visits to be organized between the professionals of the ASPU and its partner universities will be invaluable and effective not only for the universities but also for the educational systems of the two countries.

“Teaching has always been a respected profession in Finland. We have old traditions of training teachers and implementing education. The main part of the country’s economic achievements can be ascribed to the powerful educational system. We arm our citizens with knowledge as knowledge is the basis of our country, and the quality of education is determined by the educator’s quality,” said Mr. Lauri Lajunen, Rector of the University of Oulu. He added that in the current era of globalization all universities need partners for effective collaboration.

Mr. Lauri Lajunen stressed that the cooperation between the two universities was based on the principles of ensuring quality, transparency and effective management. They also attached special importance to the organization of training courses, which is directly connected with the work of the faculty and university.

The Rector of the Finnish University also read out the message of the Finnish Minister of Education and Science in which she expresses her delight over the results of cooperation and notable changes observed at the two universities and suggests that the two institutions continue partnership in a broader framework.

Further on, Mr. Lauri Lajunen awarded RA Minister of Education and Science Armen Ashotyan and World Bank representative Cristian Aedo with an order of the University of Oulu, and ASPU Rector Rouben Mirzakhanyan with a bronze medal of the University.

For his part, Cristian Aedo, Senior Education Economist at the World Bank, assured those present that Armenian State Pedagogical University is likely to become a serious competitor from the view of the current reforms provided that it implements the provisions of the given programme.

This was followed by a number of reports, with education specialists presenting reforms and the work done in the sector.

The conference continued on Friday, December 13.