Art critic, journalist
Revolutionary enthusiasm is rather precious material, and philosophical changes are the preconditions for its alert usage.
Ethnographer Ruzanna Tsaturyan finds that the feelings of injustice, hopelessness and inability, which has accumulated over the years, have finally been broken. And now it’s time to question different phenomena. To create a professional agenda, even if it will become an additional public burden.
Am I to understand correctly, that we are now expecting more forward-looking projects than fast results?
Let’s start with the fact that the we are different. Some want a vision of contextual development to be included in each process. In other words, let’s formulate what we want to achieve and then think about the how.
But perhaps it is still important to maintain the emotional level of the majority of society?
Of course, all revolutions bring with them euphoria. That’s natural. I remember when I was invited to participate in various media discussions during the days of the revolution, I couldn’t become abstract and turn into an analyst, it seemed to be a rude position to choose to be an observer on the outside.
But now, in a post-euphoric state, we are starting to examine the content of the direction.
I think the temptation to demand instant results is unnecessary. Especially because there isn’t much research data available.
In the days of the revolution, the ours expectations and desires were met and met in one point. And thus the large we was formed, but both before that point and after that point the we was divided once again into different parts.
And here is where the role of state policy comes to play, which defines what we are striving for, and which will be the expected situation for which different state institutions will do their work for.
Now we can see that the main thing is that there are various shifts in the legitimacy and exposure of abuse, which may have been a mere act rather than a pivot of politics.
Is there a reason not to centralize the authorities but to transfer to different institutes?
The human, labor, professional resource has always been the same. Yes, accountability and transparency have risen, but much is done with inertia.
Any process that does not have a philosophy becomes meaningless and inertia.
It is clear that the state apparatus, the public administration, have their procedures, documents and records are transferred, sessions are taking place. But there is no large founding rock of philosophy.
The authorities never talked about public happiness, considering it a private matter. And now they have spoken of it.
Up till that point, happiness was not a concept discussed at all, because happiness is a combination of different situations. But now, when that concept was placed on the agenda by a political force, a question arises, what will happen next? Is any person supposed to determine for themselves what happiness is?
The formulation of a happy person exists, and so it should appear in different political sector events.
Let how we imagine a happy individual or how a caring society is built be clear. It should be seen in the mainstream direction.
In other words, any department that develops a program should indicate how it contributes to the formation of a caring society. Perhaps it will be measurable and visible, but I do not think that the state policy has the time for it now.
At the same time we have had very sharp and twisting turns in our lives.
Perhaps the main thing is the change of the person.
It should have been like that. But to expect that the revolution would build self-confidence in every person’s own abilities is complicated.
The educational system and the legislative field did not give people the opportunity to develop those skills.
And now, citizens are in a great sense, waiting. They are waiting for realities outside of themselves.
In my opinion, the most important thing in public change is education. This is the only area worth discussing, where by investing you know that after a while you will see the result.
Today we are already losing the citizen who will be living 12 years from now, since right now they are currently being educated with today’s textbooks and approach. Textbooks don’t change quickly, and teachers cannot change because today pedagogical educators do not have the context of critical thinking.
The school is in a difficult situation, because the RPA’s authorities committed the biggest sin, drop by drop demoralizing the public education system.
It is already outside the frameworks of morality, when we are discussing if the school is involved in illegal activities or not. Such a question in itself is not normal, as we acknowledge that there was such a possibility, and all the educational facilities were managed by the strings of a puppet.
After consistent distortion, we need to be fantastic initiators if we want to try to make quick changes.
It is not one link in the field of education that is buried in the swamp. The tentacles are so widespread and so strong that it’s even unclear where the main body is that ought to be cut off in order to kill the tentacles.
At this point, I don’t see any such systematic solutions on the agenda.
The philosophy of education continues to be exactly the same as it has been for decades. Yes, it is good that schools have been released from the rule of politics. But did teachers really become more independent after that? Do they have the opportunity to make their rights and status more deserving?
We have an advanced educational model when we memorize knowledge, whereas every single data or formula is available online and verifiable in a second. What type of model will school offer the new person?
As to what person are we preparing in said conceptual educational policy: a citizen of Armenia who has critical thinking, is free to have their own personal position.
We have this formulation, but the lack of a “how” hinders us.
Educational methodology involves various network components, the quality of pedagogical education, redirection of teaching staff, working with parents’ perceptions and the motivation of students.
All these elements are long-term. We cannot, for example, break the educational system for two years, prepare and start from a new point. At the same time, it is not currently visible that parallel processes are taking place and that new content of education is being developed.
I hope that the role of various discussions, platforms and research will be greater and more visible. If previously research was done, the practical effect of which was referred to only in studies carried out in other languages, today I would like that they use references from hence our policy.
There are people who for years on end have analyzed different processes and now their research should be opened and applied. The education field needs to be heard.
I know that the education sector was flooded with phone calls, alarms about issues and complaints after the revolution. The hotline of the Ministry of Education was one of the most demanded.
Did that give a result?
As a researcher and also a parent I cannot see any retroactive effects of the call on the new education policy.
Of course, the outcome will be late, but the messages should be accessible right now, so that the messages can become the foundations for changes. And the education messages of parents, teachers, pupils and directors should constantly be kept on the public agenda.
From what I can gather from listening to Nikol Pashinyan, he proceeds from the potential of the individual to break through the existing opportunities. That is, the way that he has been in his environment.
But systemic changes do not mean that every student must become so revolutionary by themselves that break through and eventually succeed by their own personal example.
In times of crisis, such revolutionary people do still exist, but that experience should not be generalized, rather understood as to why those problems existed, which were necessary to break away from. Perhaps it is widespread misery, a disinterest in the educational process.
Students do not go to school with any expectations today. And this is the most cruel reality, because the educational process lasts for 12 years, an entire chunk of a lifetime.
The school cannot simply be a warehouse or shelter without any motivation.
We say, read children, read. But that message is very weak. Every day and at every moment we ought to receive messages about changing the content of education. And participatory messages, not calls about exposing violations.
Finally, exposing violations is not our problem, it’s an inspection problem.
I want the school to become that important point for which everyone’s heart is upset and which they trust and support.
Pupils perceive the school as being a boring institution. Does the job of changing that fall on them?
Students do not make any demands apart from, for example, changing the principal or the teacher.
In order to understand the dullness, they have to have the opportunity to compare and combine. The pupils are forced into going to school to pass by time. Then they often go to different after school platforms. And that is a serious problem.
No one has measured how varied these extracurricular platforms are and how many children are involved in them. In fact that means that at least the volume and content of that school education is not enough.
See how long the lines are to learn English, for example in the American University. And a question arises as to what happens during English class at school, that so many children spend extra time afterwards to study a foreign language.
Finally, let’s measure the demands and bring them to school. The main place of education should be school, the learner can’t fly from one place to another and partially complete the work they planned.
Role models have changed during the revolution, and those same people entered the offices and their characters had also changed. What role does mass media play for school children?
Mass media doesn’t decide who the role models are, rather the role models allow for their experience to be spread. And that is how they become a part of mass media.
It’s true that in the beginning, the revolutionary characters were very attractive, but nowadays the phenomena are so dense and the protocols are replacing each other so quickly that there isn’t any time left to breath and reinterpret. Resignation, election, job appointment, then changes, another resignation...
From time to time, the content of the policy became secondary, but that could have been avoided had we had truly professional civil servants who, regardless of the change in political power, always did their job. That is to say, developed proposals and programs.
And now we are dealing with issues in a paternalistic way, when we expect that the development vector should be proposed by the leader only.
And on the other hand, I have not seen the different vectors entering the discussion agenda. The suggestions still contradict the text that has already been thought up, discussed, that we know and imagine…
But now (let us give ourselves a little bit time) starting from the formation of the government, the content of the agenda becomes important. Even if it is not good, we shouldn’t be dissapointed, rather suggest our own, even if it requires additional public burden.
I think that the role of professional communities is great, that they be “guardians,” if it concerns them, to be able to say don’t enter into the field as an expert since you aren’t one.
But professional reactions need to meet each other. If they remain unanswered, the conception of a caring society will collapse and disappear.
The mandatory condition is that these opinions are met with political proposals. Otherwise, we will very quickly return to old and evil times.
Interview by Nune Hakhverdyan