The European Union that funds the "Organic Agriculture Assistance Initiative (OGAN)" held a ceremony introducing a new educational program called "Organic Agriculture" and two other guidelines. The event was attended by RA Minister of Education and Science Arayik Harutyunyan, the Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Pyotr Svitalsky, the Head of the OGAN Team of the Austrian Development Agency David Muckenhuber, a number of representatives from vocational institutions, public institutions and agricultural colleges. The RA Minister of Education and Science, Arayik Harutyunyan, welcomed the representatives of the EU Delegation to Armenia, the Austrian Development Agency and the representatives of the international partner organizations, who support the reforms in Armenia's primary and secondary vocational education: Since 2007, the European Union has been one of the major supporters for VET reform. Currently, the "Better Qualification for Better Work" budget support program is directed to the development of VET institutions in the agricultural sector. It aims to increase the labor market efficiency and VET graduates competitiveness in the field of agriculture through the modernization of vocational education and training’, said the Minister of Education and Science. According to him, a new academic course of organic agriculture, to infused in colleges, will contribute to the development of the field, as well as further career planning opportunities and professional advancement of graduates. The Minister also hoped that this educational cooperation between the EU and the Austrian Development Agency will be continuous.
"We are sure that these subject areas will ensure further career advancement for students in the newly emerging but competitive organic agriculture sector, and Armenia will have a number of highly qualified specialists", noted the Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Pyotr Svitalski in his welcoming speech.
He hoped that the introduction of the module, will help students attain more knowledge of food legislation, food inspection,, certification and labeling, as well as marketing, business and quality assurance requirements.
"With close cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Armenia and the National Center for Vocational Education, we have developed manuals for students and methodological guidelines for teachers. We also collaborate with colleges, universities and farmers to involve their feedback into the curriculum" said David Muckenhuber, the Head of the OAN Program Team of the Austrian Development Agency.
During the event, the educational module, "Principles of Organic Agriculture in the Vocational Education System", developed by the Ministry of Education and Science of Armenia and the Austrian Development Agency presented educational literature to ensure its efficiency.
The “Organic Agriculture” manual is intended for lecturers working in institutions of secondary vocational education who will teach the subject of Organic Agriculture after introducing the same module. The first of the guidelines is for students, and the second is for those who are interested in organic agriculture.
It should be noted that more than 90 VET specialists have been trained in Armenia and Austria after the introduction of the new module. The new training module is being implemented in educational institutions with around 15 agricultural and related professions.