An interview given by Ashot Bleyan to the learner-reporters of the Radio Surhandak. The interview was published in Ashot Bleyan’s diary on March 25.
During an important stage of life man doesn’t’ participate in the social life changes: can it be called a school life?
Ashot Bleyan: Thank you for invitation, for this round-table discussion.
This month has been passing by mixing with project groups, and it seems as if we are not separated from each other, we are together all day long, but it is all the same, there was some kind of isolation. That’s why I am interested in such group meetings, round-table discussions, in the opportunity to look into each other’s eyes, ask questions and listen to each other. For a whole month I have been constantly feeling to be among interested people.
Interview moderator: the aim of our meeting is the discussion of Mr. Bleyan’s educational manifesto published on March 13.
Question: Who was your Manifesto addressed to?
A.B. The manifesto was an open letter: And every text in the media is an open letter. It is not you that decides who will read the text. You may wish some definite groups of people to read your text. There is a solution to that. I turn to my friends with a request to read that text, share it with others, find the possible beneficiary, be a postman and take it to the addressee. The manifesto is an open letter to any person interested in today’s public education and thinks that change to be necessary. They consider it necessary but they don’t know the way of doing it: and my life experience, status, reputation or whatever you may call it, persuade me to think, perhaps, I ought to be more active, more concrete. And the Media gives such an opportunity to find, apply to the public. History doesn’t remember a case when someone applies to the public with the issue related to education or social environment and remains unanswered.
Question: Reading your diary note I have understood that you are against the 9th and 12th grades final examinations, as well as university entrance exams.
A.B.: Yes, it is high time that each higher educational institution itself determined the order ofostered f the entrance examinations, looked for, found appropriate applicants, attracted them, encouraged and helped them. For example, the American and French Universities in Yerevan do it. Is Yerevan State University deprived of such a right? Why is it so? That’s a discrimination. Or, doesn’t the Academy of Arts know how to do it, don’t they know about our School of Arts? Why don’t they know how many 12th graders of our Educomplex are interested in arts?
As for the 4th graders’ examinations, I had suggested that they should tell me what they were studying for. Do they study to be examined? There will always be found an examiner. What about your self-assessment? Isn’t your self-assessment more important? As for the mandatory 12-year education, talking about it is dangerous.
Question: The Manifesto says: “Let’s turn the examining June into a reviewing and camping June” If we replace that examining obligation with reviewing and camping obligation, don’t we do the same thing?
A.B. I will not call it “obligation”, I will call it “organization”. It is the state educational program that is obligation. I do not consider the state funded school or the school in general to be obligatory. And this is said by a person who has devoted all his life to education. Any person should study, and who has said that the school is the only way of doing it? I don’t quite agree about it. Studying, striving for knowledge and skills is very important for me. I am doing my best to foster striving for knowledge and skills, and the declaration is aimed at that. These are the steps that will lead us to a better state, a better society, a better school which will be a more sparing, a more respectful to an individual.
Question: I noticed some lines in your note which show that you want to promote the economic revolution through the school.
A.B. Public or general education is part of social activities. It is an important part in terms of time and volume. And see what’s happening; the learner does not participate in the public life changes and problem solving work in an important period of time. Can it be called a state school? I want Nikol Pashinyan’s new government to be persuasive in its endeavors. I am stating that the 12-year compulsory educational institution, the school of memorizing does not foster the economic revolution, moreover, it acts against the economic revolution. And I consider this period of changes during 8-10 months to be very dangerous and lost.
So that way of public organization should be found.
I don’t mean that this should be in the school. But if I am told that my general education is carried out at school, then show me the way of organizing it. You said one thing, and now you are saying another thing. And here is my favorite expression: “Which way does the road lead and which way does the traveler take?”