09, 2014

Working visit of President Serzh Sargsyan to Shirak marz

Today, President Serzh Sargsyan made a working visit to Shirak marz.

On his working visit the Armenian President first attended the opening ceremony of Gyumri Information Technologies Center, familiarized with the center’s current and future projects and the works implemented.

Gyumri Information Technologies Center (GITC) has been established as a result of the cooperation between the RA government, Enterprise Incubator Foundation and the World Bank. By the government decree of 2014 Enterprise Incubator Foundation was appointed as the chief operator of the GITC action plan.

The establishment of the GITC is aimed at developing the city and transforming it into a zone saturated with modern knowledge-based and innovative infrastructures where many high technology companies, large education centers and scientific research centers will be represented. The project is a key to promoting business and investment climate, stimulating small and medium-sized businesses, creating new jobs and dealing with Gyumri's social and economic problems thereby fostering balanced regional development, increasing the country's overall competitiveness and bolstering the branches of information technology and engineering in Gyumri. Concurrently, the technologies center will give the qualified specialist of Shirak marz an opportunity to be involved in production processes.

At the center the Armenian President visited the GITC Startup club, educational and Armtab laboratories, the office of the Clean Technology Innovation Center in Armenia, engineering and mechanical laboratories, the office of Rostelecom, an exhibition pavilion, the offices of D-Link and e-Works, a multimedia pavilion and auditorium where he held a meeting with around 130 teachers who had visited the center from Gyumri's different schools. At the technologies center the president announced the start of the Education Superiority Program.

“Dear Teachers, as you remember, I hope you remember, I declared that at the beginning of the new academic year we will come up with one more important and essential initiative in the sphere of education. Today, I have the honor of announcing the launch of that initiative and it is double the pleasure for me to do it in front of wonderful teachers gathered under the roof of this new and modern technopark which symbolizes the prospect of Armenia's technological development.

Now, let me restate the known truth about education – it predetermines the future. Any national program is realizable only if it is bolstered by the ability and determination to create relevant human potential.

In order to build a powerful country we should have qualified and competitive human resources which can be ensured only through a high-quality education system and a corresponding community of teachers.

For centuries, teachers have traditionally had the highest social status. In today’s world, being rapidly transformed by education, we need to reevaluate and redefine what teaching is. Who is the teacher after all? It is someone who moulds a generation, someone who educates our most precious treasure - our children, and someone our future depends on for the most part. Hence, our society needs to strive for receiving the best education and demand it. We need to create possibilities for achieving high standards of quality so that our teachers are trained in accordance with international standards, provide students with the best educational content and are fairly remunerated.

Keeping this in mind and wrapping up the one-year preparatory work, the RA Ministry of Education and Science and Ayb Educational Foundation, in cooperation with the University of Cambridge and London Institute of Education (IOE) are launching a large-scale educational initiative - “National Program for Teaching Excellence.” The aim of the program is to put a larger value on the role of the teacher in our society, to make the specialization of the servant of education attractive, to direct the best human resources towards education and create a competitive community of teachers who recognize their mission. The program will be implemented through an up-to-date Armenian language education system according to which teachers should receive relevant qualification. It will be modified and improved so that it fully matches with the international standards. Afterwards, it will be registered the Republic of Armenia and the corresponding institutions of international accreditation.

“The National Program for Teaching Excellence” plans to certify about 2000 internationally qualified teachers during one decade. They will be the change agents and serve an example for the current and new generations of Armenian teachers creating a school network which stimulates the practice of latest teaching approaches in schools. Within the framework of the program, a rich center of resources will be created which will support the entire teachers’ community of Armenia in an effort to improve their teaching content and skills, help to harmonize local and international education standards and localize the best international experience in Armenia.

The continuous improvement of the quality of education is a top priority for both the public administration bodies and the society. This means that quality should not be imposed from above but rather be demanded by the society. We need to create a dream to succeed through education and provide an opportunity to make that dream a reality. In this regard, “National Program for Teaching Excellence” is a mission and the teachers engaged in it should become the apostles of a new teaching culture. Of course, no mission can be crowned with success if there is no social understanding of its necessity. If a society is just a consumer of education and not a participant, that education will not yield any results.

Today we need to raise the awareness about the program and more importantly - listen to everybody and you all. There will be public discussions on the program. We should be confident that there is a public demand for the increase of the quality in education and a readiness to be involved, we should be confident that the program from all points of view crystallizes our common ideas. Hence, we should be confident that everyone’s voice is heard.

This much for now. Today, we have here with us the so-called driving force of this idea and program - Fr. Mesrop Aramyan, but unfortunately, the Minister of Education and Science, Armen Ashotyan, is away on a business trip. I have already asked Fr. Mesrop and Armen Ashotyan to organize a big press conference during the upcoming week to discuss the program and the succession of our steps. At this moment, we are announcing the launch of an important program, and now at least the participants who are familiar with the program are confident that after a few years it will be partly implemented and will already be of benefit to our education system. Likewise, a few years ago when we talked about opening a school corresponding to international standards in Armenia, there were many skeptics and many critics, but thank God, exactly in 4 weeks we are to open Dilijan International School which has been built by Ruben Vardanyan and his friends, and which will play a major role in our education system. You know that it is a very good improvement for our education system. I am confident that you will witness it in the future. Everyone who goes and sees that school from a distance already forms an opinion about the content. I am confident that this program will play a paramount role in the future of Armenia. Thank you very much. Good luck,” said President Serzh Sargsyan during his meeting with teachers at the Gyumri Information Technologies Center.

On the occasion of the opening of GITC Serzh Sargsyan planted a tree at the yard.

In Gyumri the president also visited High-Voltage Electric Networks CJSC’s restored Gyumri-2 substation where during the tour Serzh Sargsyan was presented the substation’s renovation loan and other investment projects being implemented at High-Voltage Electric Networks.

The substation which is of local and regional strategic importance was built in 1972-1973. It feeds Gyumri city and Shirak region and is linked to the Georgian energy system through 110 KW air line and to the Turkish energy system through Ghars 220 KW airline. As a result of exploitation the main and auxiliary equipment of the substation has been depreciated physically and morally.

Pursuant to the Gyumri-2 renovation loan agreement signed between the German Development Bank, the RA Ministry of Finance and High-Voltage Electric Networks CJSC, the construction works of the substation started on October 14, 2011. The entire volume of the substation’s construction and assembly works finished on February 13, 2014 in line with the date specified in the agreement.

Within the framework of the project the depreciated and old equipment of the substation has been replaced with modern new equipment corresponding to international norms and standards as a result of which, according to the executives, the substation’s technical losses, exploitation costs, emergency breakdowns and the inefficiency will reduce. On the other hand, the overall reliability and security of the substation and the whole energy system will increase.

Gyumri-2 is the 4th fully-renovated 220 KW substation after Vanadzor-2, Kamo and Alaverdi-2 substations.

On his visit to Shirak marz the Armenian President also attended the opening ceremony of Gyumri Football Academy. The academy was founded as a result of the joint investment project implemented by the Republic of Armenia, the Football Federation of Armenia and the two international organizations, FIFA and UEFA.

The project started in November 2011 and finished in August 2014. The academy possesses necessary football infrastructures. The president was presented the projects of the academy geared towards organizing coaching courses for local specialists who after being retrained and certified will be given the right to work at the academy. At the academy up to 1000 athletes can train up and around 40 Gyumri residents can find a job.

Serzh Sargsyan also visited Gyumri’s Lentex LLC, familiarized with the activities and development programs of this company targeted on restoring the old traditions of textile manufacturing. The president was presented that today the products of the company are successfully realized in the RA and the NKR. Moreover, some quantity is exported to France, Georgia, Russia and the United Arab Emirates. In 2012-2014 the company built a new workshop by investing about 600 million AMD tanks to which the products of the company have become more competitive. At present, around 200 people with 70000 average salary work at the company.

From Gyumri the president left for Ashotsq where he attended the opening ceremony of a school built within the framework of “Hayastan” All-Armenian Fund’s Rural Community Development Project. Serzh Sargsyan toured the educational institution geared towards giving an education to 360 pupils, familiarized with the works implemented and the conditions created. The project started in July 2011 and finished in July 2014. At present 261 pupils attend the school.

In Ashotsq Serzh Sargsyan also visited a kindergarten which has been fully renovated by the Armenian Social Investment Fund (ASIF) and familiarized with the works implemented. As a result of the project 90 of the community’s 115 preschool age children now attends the kindergarten.

Later on, the president left for Amasia where he attended the opening ceremony of a football stadium. The construction project has been initiated and implemented by the Football Federation of Armenia and the company Ucom. The project started in September 2013 and finished in September 2014.

Serzh Sargsyan also visited the community’s fully-renovated art school, familiarized with the works implemented and held a meeting with the pupils of the school. By the judgment of Shirak’s Court of First Instance delivered in September 2012 the former building of Khnaybank was declared ownerless. In 2013 it was fully renovated by Ucom and operates as an art school. The project started in May 2013 and finished in August 2013. The president was presented that within the framework of the project internal decoration works has been done, heating, water supply and gasification systems have been installed, the windows have been replaced and a number of other works have been implemented. The school can provide education to up to 200 children in Amasia region. At present 92 children attends the school.

In Amasia the president was also presented the course of the construction works of a sports and cultural center being carried out within the framework of an ASIF project. The building of the center was built in 1976. The ASIF project intends to disassemble the existing tin roof, covers and stone walls, replace the floor, the doors and windows, fortify the walls, install a heating system, as well as internal and external networks of water supply, sewerage, electricity supply and gasification systems. The project started in November 2013 and finished in October 2014.

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