Improving the means through which Armenian children can access quality education has always been a priority for FAR. This not only translates to empowering teachers, but also to increased opportunities for active and challenging learning experiences for students.
Most recently, FAR boosted the quality of science education in many rural schools through the construction and rehabilitation of classroom laboratories. Several parishes provided funding for the labs, including St. John Armenian Church ACYOA Senior in Michigan, which raised $1,000, and St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church in North Carolina, which raised $1,300.
Through BCPP, which targets its activities in the Berd Region, one of Armenia’s poorest, dozens of schools have been improved through classroom renovations. Most recently, the renovation of 11 science labs has transformed the way students learn.
“We have been dreaming about these labs since the 1990s. Finally, our dream came true,” said Principal of Verin Karmiraghbyur Village’s Middle School Nara Papyan. “This is not just a lab; this hope for a better future, this is motivation for our children to learn well and become competent in the field. Now, more than ever, our physics and chemistry lessons are more meaningful and effective because the pupils have the opportunity to experience the practical application of the theories that they learn.”
She noted that the 8th graders have already successfully made color change chemistry experiments and 7th graders have studied water balance equations.
FAR Education Program Director Eduard Karapetyan talked about “spillover effects” of the new labs, which has increased children’s interest in learning about science even outside of school. “This is a good opportunity for them to link theory to practice and enhance their abilities,” he said.
Ayo!’s “Fill the Gap. Build a Lab.” project also quickly raised enough money to finance construction of two science labs in schools in the communities of Getashen and Shamiram, in the western part of the country. Now, students’ studies of physics, chemistry and biology have been elevated to a higher level. The labs are equipped with necessary tools and materials to make the lessons more interesting and meaningful.
“The science lab has become a significant investment for the betterment of the schoolchildren who previously found the learning process very difficult without any practical experience,” said Venera Abovyan, a Teach for Armenia fellow who has been teaching biology and chemistry at Shamiram Village School for the past two years.
Even since FAR launched BCPP in 2013, thanks to a remarkable gift from The Mardigian Family Foundation, dozens of schools have been improved through renovation and refurbishment of their classrooms, sport fields and labs, and other facilities, making them safer and more effective learning environments.