Armenia’s accession to the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) will have no negative impact on the development trends in the country’s educational sector, according to a government official.
Talking to RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am) on Thursday, Minister of Education and Science Armen Ashotian stressed that Armenia itself decides the contents of its national education and the EEU membership treaty that the country signed on October 10 does not imply a separate educational program.
The minister added, however, that mutual recognition of university diplomas is within the framework of EEU issues. He emphasized that this matter is regarded within the context of the common economic space and labor market.
Some educationalists in Armenia, however, believe that the country’s integration with the Russian-led trade bloc will also inevitably mean regression to the “Soviet” educational system with all its negative phenomena and domination of the Russian language.
Deputy Director of the Yerevan-based National Education Institute Anahit Bakhshian said such a scenario would be “another blow to our national dignity.”
“I remember how in the Soviet times one could hear people speak Russian everywhere, be it in schools or in public transport. There’s nothing bad in being able to speak another language, but it should not be at the expense of your identity. Knowing the Russian policies all too well, I feel afraid,” she said.
Ashotian, however, stressed that he expected no drastic changes in the sphere in the near future and insisted that Armenia’s upcoming membership in the EEU involves no risks to the national education system.
According to the minister, even despite the differences that exist today, such as 12-year secondary education in Armenia and 11-year secondary education in Russia, school diplomas will be mutually recognized in all countries of the EEU that will also include Belarus, Kazakhstan and, possibly, Kyrgyzstan.