At present the following main professional educational programmes are implemented in the Republic of Armenia:
- Preliminary professional (vocational) education;
- Middle level professional education;
- Higher professional education;
- Post graduate professional education.
Professional educational programmes define the content of education at a certain level and direction, the volume of necessary knowledge, capacities and skills. They are targeted at preparation of appropriately qualified specialists through ensuring succession of the general and professional levels of education, and at formation of capacities and skills, expansion of knowledge volume and increase of qualification.
PRELIMINARY PROFESSIONAL (VOCATIONAL) EDUCATION AND MIDDLE LEVEL (VOCATIONAL) EDUCATION
The goal of the preliminary professional (vocational) education is preparation of specialists with preliminary professional (vocational) qualification (RA “Law on Education”, Yerevan, 1999).
The goal of the middle level professional education is preparation of specialists with middle level professional qualification on the basis of basic general education (RA “Law on Education”, Yerevan, 1999).
The duration of preliminary professional education, depending on the education background of applicants (basic general or secondary (full) general) and the chosen profession, may continue from 1 to 3 years, while it is provided by vocational schools and colleges.
Middle professional education is provided by middle level professional education institutions (MPEI): colleges and vocational schools.
MPEIs provide an education based on the basic general and secondary (full) general education in the form of either stationary or distant education. The education duration, depending on the level of a student education background and the chosen profession, may continue from 1 year and 10 months to 4 years and 10 months.
Nowadays 80 middle level and 27 preliminary professional education institutions provide education programs to respectively 28000 and 6500 students, who study humanities, pedagogy, healthcare, economics, arts, technical and technological professions. Graduates are issued the qualification of craftsman and specialist.
The number of state MPEI-s has increased by 17.6% as compared with 1991 (68 institutions), and the number of students (40600) has declined by 31%.
The share of middle professional education composes approximately 4% of the state education budget.
In the result of reforms implemented in the sphere of middle level professional education, a new list of the middle level professional education specializations containing 257 specializations in 28 specialized groups was approved.
In 2004, in order to make the content of professional education relevant to the labour market requirements, the GoA approved the “Preliminary and Middle Level Professional Education and Teaching Strategy”, which has served as a basis for implementation of reforms in the sphere of Preliminary and Middle Level Professional Education (PMLPE).
Adoption of the RA Law on “Preliminary Professional (Vocational) and Middle Level Professional Education” by the National Assembly in 2005 was a significant step forward in implementation of the professional education reforms. The Law regulates the state policy principles, organizational-legal and financial-economic grounds and rights and liabilities of legal and physical entities in the PMLPE system. Based on the provisions policy defined in both the Strategy and the Law, and with the assistance of the international organizations, the “Priorities of Professional Education and Training in Armenia and 2005-2008 Plan of Action” document was developed and approved by the Ministry of Education and Science. As a result, more than 20 legal normative documents regulating PMLPE sphere were developed and approved (GoA decrees, policy papers, decisions of the RA Prime Minister, decrees of the RA Minister of Education and Science), in particular the following documents were approved:
- the list of specializations of middle level and preliminary professional education, according to their duration, qualifications, and teaching grounds;
- the procedures of continuing education at the relevant higher education institutions by college students with high achievements;
- the procedures of formation the management boards in state middle level professional education institutions;
- education standards for more than 20 middle and preliminary level education professions;
- the procedures of organizing and conducting the state final tests at the middle and preliminary level professional education institutions;
- “Adult Education Strategy Policy Paper” and other documents.
“Assistance to Creation of the National Centre for Professional Education and Training in Armenia” project was implemented during 2006-2007, the goal of which was to submit appropriate proposals referring the necessity of establishment of professional education and national centre of training development. In 2006, the UNDP Program on “Education Aimed at Armenia’s Future” was launched, the main goal of which is to assist PMLPE reforms.