From Velvet Revolution to Kids Education Revolution: Giving Voice to Our Youth in Armenia
This blog post was contributed by Maral Varjabedyan (Birthright Armenia Volunteer at Teach for Armenia), and Sateny (Student, Teach For Armenia)
Teach for All’s Armenia network (Teach for Armenia) held its first Kids Education Revolution (KER) National Summit from May 31st to June 1st, 2019. Upholding the ongoing journey of reform in Armenia, KER provided a platform for students, teachers, principals and other stakeholders to gather, discuss and unveil students’ roles as change-makers in the process of education reform.
20 kids from 5 regions participated in the event at Vanadzor Technology centre, North Armenia. The kids learnt about KER’s vision, principles and core values or 7 Cs. Amongst our students who attended the KER Armenia National Summit, Sateny (who will also participate in this year’s highly selective Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) program in the United States) shares her takeaways and reflections from the Summit.
“I think it opened an opportunity for students to share their opinions about the current issues in education and also envision what kind of education they would like you to get. It was very interesting for me to discover the concept of partnership between kids and educators as well as KER’s values. I liked the atmosphere as it was motivating and inspiring. The most important thing for me was becoming a better listener and being critical about the ideas we have.
As kids, we not only had the chance to demonstrate the values in real life but also got the opportunity to meet the CEO of Teach For Armenia, Larisa Hovannisyan and listen to her leadership story. We then analyzed how the 7 Cs helped her to make a change in education in Armenia and shared our own personal stories of who we are and who we want to be.
On the second day, we led the National Summit where we hosted adult educators and immersed them in ‘The School’ museum. This museum included four lessons that were delivered in four different classrooms, and gave a general overview of the glows and grows of the current education system in Armenia. In a joint reflection activity post the lessons, we discussed what we saw in the classrooms, how we felt about things and what needs to be changed and why.
Students were recognized to be an important stakeholder in the education system, after which we facilitated a world cafe interactive session for adults. We hosted educators in 5 different centres and asked them to reflect on the roles of each stakeholder in the education system.
In concurrent sessions, we co-presented with adults and partnered with our teachers to talk about the change making projects we did in our schools. We also listened to our peers talk about the KER experience that they had in India earlier this year.
Just like the KER National Summit, I would like to have an education where kids are active participants and have equal opportunities for being involved in learning. I would like an education which helps those who face challenges, and which develops mindsets and skills beyond academic goals.
Together with our teachers, we need to advise and advocate as equal partners. We can not avoid the problems we see in our schools, but need to have the courage to face and solve them proudly.”