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Happy 1st day of school!

In Armenia, the 1st of September is celebrated as the Day of Knowledge. The day is especially important for the entrants and students of elementary, middle and high schools, professional and higher education institutions.

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know”

― Michel Legrand

“Knowledge is the armor against all sorts of misfortunes”

― Abu Rudaki

booksEveryone has the right to education. The objective of education should be the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. According to the Law of the Republic of Armenia on Education, the state shall ensure the right to education, irrespective of national origin, race, gender, language, religion, political or other views, social origin, property status or other circumstances. The same law also specifies that the State should create necessary conditions for citizens with special educational needs to receive education in line with their developmental abilities and that promotes social adaptation. This means that the state is obliged to provide students with disabilities access to and participation in life skills for education. But in our country this environment is not supported.

In March of this year, a girl from Spitak, who had a first-class disability, was unable to go to school despite her advancement. The girl’s mother claimed that the state was saving money by organizing lessons for her only in two subjects, her native language and math. Further, there are many cases about which the public has no information. Because of intolerance and existing stigmas in society, many parents prefer to keep their children away from social activities and do not allow them to get an education in the public schools. In addition, they are also state policy shortcomings to support the necessary environment for life skills education, though legislation on equal conditions in terms of creation is streamlined.

The law of inclusive education in Armenia was adopted in September of 2010. The number of schools with inclusive education is 139. We hope that positive changes will be recorded in the near future.

Because pupils and students spend most of their day time at school, socializing in educational institutions, it is of utmost importance that educational institutions be free from derogation of dignity and bullying, and be a safe space for them. But in almost all our educational institutions, ridicule, humiliation, discrimination, violence, hate speech, and attitudes that degrade human dignity and a violate human rights and fundamental freedoms are perpetrated not only by peers but also by teachers. Bullying is a big risk for children and young people’s health in any society.

Remember earlier this year, in Primary School Nelson Stepanian Number 71, a 6th grade class pupil Hovhannes Ghazaryan refused classmates’ demand that he change schools. The classmates changed their class, and even the director of school Gayane Demiryan signed order that 23 pupils out of 24 would be moved from their class to another class, leaving Ghazaryan in a class of 1, too small a class size to remain open.

Educational conditions in which bullying and violence occur must be investigated and understood and prevention measures must be implemented. It is important to understand that the realization of equality and respect for the rights of others is a part of education that must be upheld by students and teachers alike.

Happy day of knowledge! Congratulations to all pupils and students for the first study day and we hope that educational institutions be a safe space for all of them!