On July 29, during a working meeting in Vayots Dzor marz, Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan was informed by regional education sector officials that 56 million AMD have been saved “due to optimization”. In response to the statement, the head of government announced that the country’s first priority is not to save money but provide the best education.
“We have a great potential to spend financial means efficiently. Our top priority is not to save funds but provide our children with modern and best education possible. If we want to have a good state, then we should provide the best education to our children today, tomorrow or the day after tomorrow”, the head of government noted.
Since his appointment as prime minister, Karen Karapetyan has often talked about improving quality of education in Armenia. But in practice, the situation is different. Against the backdrop of promises to provide the best education, three weeks before this statement the Government approved the 2018-2020 RA medium-term expenditure program, according to which the education spending will decrease year by year, reaching 1.85% of GDP instead of the previous 2.85%.
In the years 2018-2020, the state medium-term programs budget envisages to spend 125,974.6 AMD on education in 2018, 125,885.9 million in 2019, and 129,108.4 million in 2020. By the way, the 2017-2019 state medium-term programs budget envisaged a spending of 137,494.9 million AMD in 2018, and 145,216.7 million in 2019.
According to the budget approved for 2017, it is envisaged to spend 2.34% of GDP on education. In 2016 the figure was 2.39%.
Karen Karapetyan often mentions Israel as an example on different occasions. If we try to compare our education spending with Israel’s, it becomes clear that Karapetyan’s words are just theoretical in nature. According to data published by the World Bank, Israel spends 6% of its GDP on education, which is three times more than Armenia’s planned expenditure on education. It is difficult to imagine how the government is going to provide “best education” to its citizens with promises to have “a good state”, when it plans to cut education spending year by year.