Executive Director of the Union of Advanced Technology Enterprises of Armenia (UATE) Karen Vardanyan told Lratvakan.am radio that the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports is sabotaging by suspending the funding for the installation of “Armat” laboratories.
Karen Vardanyan noted that in 2019 all the schools of Tavush, Lori and Shirak regions were replenished with Armat laboratories, where more than 33 students study. According to him, the index is a record number.
“The first surprise for us was that the government’s decision to allocate 860 million drams to 284 groups concerned only the equipment. The program is not just the equipment, you have to train the facilitators, you have to select the facilitators …”, he noted.
To the interviewer’s observation as to whether there is a clear explanation as to why funding ceases, Karen Vardanyan replied: “No, there is no conversation, no communication, they think they are high caliber to talk to us.”
Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport Arayik Harutyunyan responded to Karen Vardanyan’s statement on his Facebook page. The latter noted that Karen Vardanyan had received just over 800 million drams over the last six working days to establish 284 new laboratories in three provinces and that “even in his wildest dream he wouldn’t see the number of laboratories double in just four months.”
“Dear Members of the Union of Information Technology Enterprises (Editor’s note: former name of the UATE), this constant behavior of your partner makes you no longer a trusted partner for the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport (MESCS). MESCS is committed to equipping all Armenian schools with engineering laboratories, be it UITE or another organization.
P.S. the “seriousness” of the statements below are shown by the fact that in 2019 the budget for engineering laboratories was 352 million drams, and in 2020 – 671 million,” noted the minister.
Speaking to Fip.am, Karen Vardanyan said it was better to listen to the entire interview, as his claims were related to the training of the facilitators and the financing of the selection procedure.
Speaking to the Fact Investigation Platform, Anjela Kzhdryan, the spokesperson of the MESCS minister, noted that funding for engineering laboratories of Armat has not been stopped.
Talking to Fip.am, Angela Kjdrian highlighted that the government has allocated 671.7 million drams in 2020, which is 126 million more than needed for the activities of the groups. Minister’s spokesperson Angela Kzhdryan noted that the financing of Armat engineering laboratories has not been stopped in any way….
“Moreover, the government, in particular the Ministry, prioritizes the creation of engineering laboratories in schools, and when project monitoring or evaluation is done, both the size of funding and the funding mechanisms will be set up for the creation of new laboratories,” noted Kzhdryan.
“According to Angela Kzhdryan, in 2019 the ministry has allocated 352 million drams for the activities of 422 groups, plus 834 million drams for establishment of 284 laboratories. “However, UATE has underperformed the 2019 budget by about 60 million drams,” she said.
Regarding the emphasis that the facilitators’ training budget has been suspended, the speaker noted that the government has never provided any money for the establishment of training camps.
“That is to say, there has never been such funding to even stop it; in the past, they have set up laboratories, and they have paid the staff of these laboratories through government funds: our government not only provided money for the salaries of the facilitators, but also allocated money for the creation of laboratories, ”she noted.
By the way, the Minister of the Ministry of Education and Science Arayik Harutyunyan in a conversation with Factor.am today answered the question whether they are considering the work of the “Armat” laboratories without cooperation with the UATE. According to him, they have no plans at this time on how they will continue to work, and the UATE is aware of that.
“We will continue to work, at least the approximately 600 laboratories that exist, will continue operating, and there will be additional investment. If you look at this year’s budget, we have already set aside money for facilitators, not just for the number of existing laboratories, but for additional laboratories too, “he said.