Making Armenian courses optional sparks protest among students: Yerevan State University Armenian Philology students halt classes

The decision by the Ministry of Science, Education, Culture and Sport to remove the compulsory courses of Armenian language, Armenian literature and Armenian history from university curricula has sparked heated debate among students of Yerevan State University, Panarmenian reports.

The Ministry said recently that it is going to draft a proposal that would make the three courses optional, particularly for students who do not major in humanities.

The students of YSU’s Faculty of Armenian Philology have now taken to the streets to protest against the proposed change.

They claim that every person who gets a university degree in Armenia should be fluent in Armenian, and that “the decision makes no sense.”

Most faculties in Armenian universities require students to pass an Armenian language exam in order to be enrolled.

And one YSU student said Wednesday, November 6 that the campaign is also raising awareness about what they call the “mass failure in public examinations.”

Some of the lecturers teaching in the Faculty of Armenian Philology expressed support for the protest which they described as “an accurate and timely initiative, aimed at protecting the interests of the mother tongue as a national language.”

The students who are now gathered in front of the central building if YSU, claim they are going to march to the government, the National Assembly unless the Minister of Education, Arayik Harutyunyan, heeds their call.

The Ministry, meanwhile, has issued a statement, according to which the draft law grants wide autonomy to universities to determine the content of educational and scientific programs.

“Therefore, once the draft law is approved, the scientific council of each university can decide whether these subjects must or must not be taught in all faculties,” the statement reads.

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