DAAD: The level of education in Armenia is very high

28-05-2012 14:28:37   | Armenia  |  Interviews
Here we are presenting the interview of Noyan Tapan with Head of DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) Information Office Tina Laufer How long has your organization been operating in Armenia? What is its mission? The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is the largest funding organization in the world supporting the international exchange of students and scholars. The DAAD supports the internationalization of German universities, and awards around 74.000 scholarships per year to German and foreign students and researchers. It also promotes German studies and the German language abroad, assisting developing countries in establishing effective universities and advises decision makers on matters of cultural, educational and development policy. The DAAD has been active in Armenia since 1990. Since then more than 1800 Armenians have received a DAAD scholarship. In 2004 a DAAD Information Centre was opened in Yerevan. It serves as a point of contact for all issues concerning study and research in Germany as well as cooperation between Germany and Armenia in the field of Higher Education. The Information Centre provides information to individuals and institutions interested in academic exchanges with Germany. Which programs implemented by your organization in Armenia do you consider most important? Why? The DAAD runs over 250 programmes, through which it funds more than 74,000 German and foreign scholars worldwide per annum. These programmes range from semesters abroad for undergraduates to doctoral programmes, from internships to visiting lectureships, and from information-gathering visits to assisting with the establishment of new universities abroad. The most important programmes in Armenia are firstly our individual scholarship programms ranging from scholarships for Master studies to Research stays in Germany. The scholarships target applicants with German or English language skills. The DAAD is the only scholarship organisation in Armenia which support applicants from all disciplines, not only the social sciences. Our scholarship holders range from Engineers to Medical students, to students of Oriental studies and Law just to name a few. We offer scholarships in all disciplines. We also consider our support programmes for university cooperation highly important. Currently the DAAD supports three cooperations ranging from Visual Computing; an exchange programme in Computer Studies between the University of Rostock and Yerevan State University, Agrarian Management, an exchange programme between the University of Weihenstephan-Triesdorf and Yerevan Agricultural University, and a German Studies program between the University of Halle and Yerevan State Linguistic University. Do you implement any programs in cooperation with Armenian state bodies or NGOs? The DAAD supports various cooperations between Universities in Germany and Armenia. For example the cooperation between: Yerevan State University - University of Rostock (Visual Computing) Yerevan V. Brusov University - Martin-Luther-Universitat Halle-Wittenberg (German Studies) Yerevan Agricultural University - Hochschule Weihenstephan -Triesdorf (Agricultural Management) What programs do you plan to implement in the near future? We are planning to introduce a scholarship program sponsored by the Armenian government to offer more highly qualified Armenian graduates to study a Master degree in Germany. Does the work carried out by you attract interest of society? What about society's support? To study and research abroad and especially in Germany is highly demanded by Armenian students and researchers because of the high level of education and the better job opportunities they have afterwards as well as the excellent research infrastructure in Germany. Therefore the work of the DAAD highly attracts interest of the society. The number of applicants for the DAAD programs increases each year as well as the number of people who are going to Germany self financed. The DAAD offers advice and support to all interested in study and research in Germany with or without a scholarship. The DAAD Alumni as well as sympathizers voluntarily support the DAAD on different events and fairs or by promoting the programs in their Universities. Is your cooperation with Armenian authorities successful? We cooperate very successfully with the Armenian Ministry of Education and Science, which supports us very much. What kind of difficulties have you met during your operations in Armenia? We face difficulties with male scholarship holders and their conflicting duty to attend military service. Some of them are not able to take up their scholarship because they cannot postpone the beginning of their service which in our eyes is a pity since these are the brightest Armenian students and young researchers which are denied to receive an advanced education abroad to serve their country as specialist in their respective areas. What things do you consider positive in present-day Armenia? In your opinion, what should be changed in the country? The level of education in Armenia is very high as well as the will of families and individuals to invest in education. Many Armenian students and researchers are very mobile and are actively seeking to expand their training abroad. Unfortunately, there is still a lack of support for the mobility of Armenian students, the recognition of study results of a semester abroad is still very difficult as is the official recognition of foreign degrees. The labor market however highly regards foreign degrees. Furthermore Armenia lacks highly qualified university professors and lecturers. Out of 7136 people teaching at Armenian universities, 2210 have the qualification "docent" and only 726 are professors, these numbers urgently need to be improved.
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