The social-economic crisis of the 1990s severely affected the quality of Armenia’s educational system. The minimal salaries of teachers forced many to leave their positions and seek other, better-paying jobs, often abroad.
Amidst declining educational standards, many families sought additional tutoring for their children, in order to meet university entrance requirements. Yet, families who had lost their breadwinners during the war could not afford to hire tutors for their children.
To address this need, the Armenian NGO “Soldiers’ Mothers” began organizing preparatory classes for children of vulnerable families until their sponsor, Dr. Armand Bedikian, passed away in 2000. The NGO then applied to the Foundation to sponsor this project.
From 2000 until 2008, the Foundation sponsored around 300 students from vulnerable families, particularly children of Karabagh War veterans, enabling them to attend preparatory classes and to learn how to apply to schools of higher learning.
Eighty percent of those children have since continued their education.
The preparatory classes were organized in Stepanavan, and included Armenian history, mathematics, biology, physics and computer skills.
Project funds were spent primarily on textbooks and salaries for lecturers. The State Pedagogical Institute of Yerevan and Stepanavan provided facilities for the classes and covered some of the operational costs of the project.