“Erasmus+ Information Day 2023” was held at Armenian State Pedagogical University (ASPU) on November 17.
The event was aimed at disseminating information for Armenian HEIs about the Erasmus+ Program, sharing the experience of successful projects funded by the Program and publishing the news of the Erasmus+ Call 2024 to be announced very soon.
In her opening remarks ASPU Rector, Professor Srbuhi Gevorgyan said internationalization remains one of the main strategic directions and goals of the University; ASPU remains committed to the ambitious goals of internationalization. In that context, the rector emphasized the importance of new collaborations, expansion and strengthening of the existing ties with the EU countries, and the opportunities to carry out research in various fields and to strengthen educational and development components.
Speaking about cooperation with European colleagues, Srbuhi Gevorgyan said the role and importance of the Erasmus+ Program is invaluable; it provides an opportunity to develop abilities and professional skills, and to bring the best practices to Armenia. She added that ASPU has been actively involved in internationalization processes since 2012, has implemented a number of international student programs, Tempus projects, as well as Erasmus + student and staff exchange programs, as well as capacity-building programs.
She then reminded that since 2016, ASPU has been coordinator of the Erasmus + Program. Srbuhi Gevorgyan added that today they are ready to assume [with great responsibility] the coordination of the "T4GREEN" project, which is aimed at reforming teacher education in Armenia and Moldova, which implies transition from traditional to future-oriented education programs in general education, supporting teaching methods, "green" and digital learning.
Silja Kasmann, Deputy Head of Cooperation for the European Union Delegation to Armenia, has been living in Armenia for 3 years now but does not know Armenian yet. She says now she started to understand the students who study abroad within the framework of the Erasmus+ Program, but do not know the language of the given country.
Silja Kasmann says it is a great honour for her to be present at the event. She emphasizes that Erasmus+ is one of the most important programs of the European Union. This is also evidenced by the financial contribution which increases year by year.
She presented the inclusive, digital and "green" programs and expressed the hope that the attendees will take advantage of the opportunity and realize the main goal of the EU by applying for as many programs as possible.
Silja Kasmann says Armenia has professors’ and students’ community endowed with great potential, who can not only learn, but also share their own experience.
Lana Karlova, Coordinator at the National Erasmus+ Office in Armenia, presented the results of the Erasmus+ Call 2023.
She said the program foresees various activities and projects, and the information days provide an opportunity to get acquainted with them, organize discussions, ask questions, exchange experience with representatives of the programs, and talk about difficulties.
Lana Karlova thinks the meeting will help representatives of the universities and colleges, that have the potential to implement the program, to get acquainted with the successful experience/practice and to apply for educational programs in various directions in the near future.
She added that 30 higher education institutions (HEIs) in Armenia actively participate in Erasmus programs and implement credit mobility. Moreover, 19 HEIs are included in 12 capacity development programs.
"Within the framework of the aforesaid programs, representatives of those universities and colleges visit European partner universities, get acquainted with the European experience, and receive relevant training. As a result of those visits, the Armenian representatives of the program are supposed to improve bachelor's and master's programs, and university management,” Lana Karlova said emphasizing the importance of participation in Erasmus+ programs given the recently changed priorities in education.
Marianna Harutyunyan, ASPU Vice-Rector for Personnel and International Cooperation, presented the Capacity Development in Higher Education (CBHE) component.
She says it is important not to be afraid and move forward. Erasmus+ opens a window to Europe and helps strengthen the potential of students and professors.
She added that currently ASPU is involved in three projects: KPI4HE, DeSIRe, T4GREEN. The University is also the coordinator of T4GREEN (Transforming Teacher Education for Green and Digital
Transition in Armenia and Moldova). The latter focuses on four main directions - Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), foreign languages, special and inclusive education.
Marianna Harutyunyan says the University is ready to review the curricula, making them in line with modern and digital requirements.
Marianna Harutyunyan considered the lack of a national concept of teacher education as a big gap and emphasized the need for its creation, at the same time stressing that they are aware of the problems in the preparation and training of pedagogical personnel. "There are problems in our country [Armenia] and in Moldova, there is a lack of teachers and a need to restore the attractiveness of the teaching profession.
“The project aims to improve the existing problems so that the future generations value the teaching profession and get interested in pedagogy. In that sense, our approaches are important. curricula and procedures should meet modern requirements, let's speak the language of children in the digital world,” she said.
The vice-rector believes that the changes, which will be based on green and digital approaches, will gradually introduce the reforms into teachers’ professional activity and make teachers’ role important among children and society.
She added that within the framework of the program there will be series of training, capacity building workshops, changes in professional education programs, including methods, final results and other components. "The program will last three years. We have a long and difficult way to go, but we are excited and we will achieve success," Marianna Harutyunyan said adding that not only the capabilities and skills of future teachers but also those of current teachers will be improved within the framework of the program.
Within the framework of the “Erasmus+ Information Day 2023” event, the participants were also introduced to Erasmus Mundus Design Measures (EMDM) project, Jean Monnet actions, Erasmus+ Virtual Exchanges, International Credit Mobility programs.
The speeches were followed by discussions and Q&A sessions.