“IT IS POSSIBLE TO GET HIGHER EDUCATION WITH EUROPEAN STUDY PROGRAMS IN ARMENIA” ANAHIT HARUTYUNYAN Interview with Anahit Harutyunyan, President of the International Academy of Education, Advisor to the Rector of Haybusak University

Interviewer: Mrs. Harutyunyan, this year is a crisis year for the whole university system as the number of applicants is unprecedentedly low. According to the Assessment and Testing Center, about three times fewer applications have been submitted this year due to the fact that the 12-year education system was invested in schools some years ago. How will Haybusak University cope with this crisis?

  1. Harutyunyan: A few years ago, when the challenge of declining number of applicants was already obvious, we seriously thought about it and took steps. First of all, we expanded the scope of activities of our vocational education institution, the basic college and the high school, from which we receive a certain number of applicants every year.

Interviewer: In other words, do all the graduates of the high school and college apply to Haybusak University?

  1. Harutyunyan: No, of course, there is no such a compulsion, moreover, most of the graduates apply to Armenian and foreign universities, and some of them apply to Haybusak University. The second circumstance that allows us not to worry is the presence of foreign applicants and Armenian ones from and Diaspora.

Interviewer: Attracting foreign applicants is quite a difficult task for Armenian universities, have you done any targeted work in that direction?

  1. Harutyunyan: In recent years we have done a lot in that direction, and in some countries we have even opened offices, for example, in India, Russia, in European countries. Today we are known both in Armenia and abroad; the students from 32 countries are the best evidence. The growing number of foreign applicants allows us to think that we will not have vacancies in some specializations. We will have vacancies in the specializations which are not preferable for foreign applicants. But, in general, given the unprecedented low number of applicants due to the crisis, we are insured.

Interviewer: Do foreign students receive education in Armenian or in a foreign language?

  1. Harutyunyan: From a legal point, the organization of foreign language education in universities is allowed. Students who prefer to get education in Armenian are mainly Armenians from the Diaspora, who, of course, study in Armenian, while foreign applicants who do not speak Armenian get education in English and Russian. There are also cases when, for example, Armenian applicants from Russia or Ukraine are not fluent enough in Armenian and prefer to get education in Russian. In any case, the students choose the language in which they will get education. We provide education in the Armenian, Russian and English languages.

Interviewer: What specialties does Haybusak University offer?

  1. Harutyunyan: Years ago, when the process of the expansion of the universities started, 5 private universities accredited by the state united around Haybusak University. As a result, Haybusak University which originally had only five specialties only in the fields of Medicine and Economics, now has almost all the modern professions in the field of higher education. We have a large block of specialties in Humanities: Pedagogy, Psychology, Romano-Germanic Philology, Journalism. As a result of the unification, we had Law, International Relations and other new professions. In total, Haybusak University today has 18 specializations: Bachelor’s, Master’s and constantly integrated higher education study programs and degrees.

Interviewer: How will you make the specialties with a small number of students viable?

  1. Harutyunyan: We have found an interesting solution for these specialties. We have tried to connect them with our foreign partner universities; we have invested joint programs by applying online courses, by integrating various practical classes in order to make the learning process interesting and diverse.

Interviewer: What do the students benefit from your cooperation with foreign universities?

  1. Harutyunyan: During the academic year students participate in online joint courses and seminars. Within the framework of the international grant (Erasmus +) there can be mutual visits among students. There is also a key provision for cooperation which will operate since this academic year and it will be relevant for the specialists of Journalism, Sociology, Psychology, Pedagogy, and Economics. Students are offered a three-year study at Haybusak University with a joint European program, a state examination after which they will be awarded two diplomas: one of Haybusak University, and the other – in the European sample. The latter provides employment opportunities in Europe. For example, according to the agreement signed with the Boleslaw Prus Universityof Humanities in Warsaw, we organize admission under the condition that admitted applicants will study in Warsaw. It should be noted that Haybusak students are given a wide opportunity to have their full or partial studies in Warsaw.

Interviewer: But is the tuition fee the same?

  1. Harutyunyan: It is higher in Poland than in Haybusak, but if we compare it with the fees of Armenian state universities, it is lower. The BA study there takes 3 years, the MA – 1-2 years.

Interviewer: Mrs. Harutyunyan, last year there was a commotion connected to Haybusak specialties in Medicine. Israel alarmed that some people were operating there with fake diplomas, and Haybusak’s name was mentioned.

  1. Harutyunyan: Thank you for asking this question. In this context the name of our University was also circulated as some forces had interests. In fact, there was no evidence related to Haybusak University. If you remember, a delegation from Israel headed by the Minister arrived in Yerevan. They visited us, our clinical databases, talked with about 100 Israeli students studying in our University, got acquainted with and studied our professional study programs, building facilities and, as a result, we received a letter from the Ministry of Health of Israel stating that Israel is ready to accept our graduates’ diplomas and graduation documents, which is a great achievement for us. The graduates of last year already have their diplomas validated in Israel, and we are waiting for the results of this year’s graduates.

Interviewer: And what results do your graduates have in the healthcare in Armenia?

  1. Harutyunyan: First of all, after their graduation they continue their education in residency, by the way, not only in Armenia but also abroad. Our graduates are very well integrated into the labor market and work in public and private clinics and clinical hospitals in Armenia, in Europe, the USA and CIS countries. Thanks to the success of Indian graduates of our university, the Indian Diploma Qualification Center has evaluated and approved our University’s Medical Specialty Diplomas (MCI). The agreements signed with leading educational and scientific centers of Armenia and abroad are of great importance in the employment process of graduates. Among the graduates there are also candidates of medical sciences who, in parallel with clinical work, work at their Alma Mater. Our University has its own polyclinic, and a clinic with 6 departments will be opened from September. In addition, we have 17 contracts with the best medical clinics in Yerevan where practical classes for our students are organized.

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