The school system comprises a compulsory and free compulsory school, a general high school (where 85% of the pupils continue) and specialized vocational schools. Higher education is conducted at 22 institutions, including the University of Yerevan (founded in 1920). In the field of education, the ambition since the dissolution of the Soviet Union has been to adapt Armenia’s education system to the domestic historical conditions. One sign of the efforts to create a new education system after the Soviet was the 1990 transformation of the Soviet Polytechnic University into “the state engineering university”. Check topschoolsintheusa for test centers of ACT, SAT, and GRE as well high schools in the country of Armenia.
Armenia has an essentially non-existent illiteracy. In 2007, the education sector accounted for 15% of central government expenditure.
In March 2007, Armenia and Iran inaugurated the first stage of the gas pipeline connecting the two countries. The pipeline should reduce Armenia’s dependence on Russia.
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Serzh Sargsyan won the presidential election in February 2008 with 52.8% of the vote ahead of his counterpart Levon Ter-Petrossian, who got 21.5%. The result sparked fierce protests. The OSCE described the election as generally free and fair, but there were major irregularities in the counting of votes. The votes were counted in 30 districts, and it turned out here that up to twice as many votes were cast for Sargsyan than he had actually received. The opposition declared electoral fraud and hundreds of thousands demonstrated March 1 against the electoral fraud. In the previous week, 20-30,000 daily had demonstrated. The protesters were attacked by police who killed 10. The president then put the country in 20 days of state of emergency and at the same time introduced censorship of the media – including the internet. On YouTube, a video sequence was previously uploaded, that showed security forces shooting directly into the crowd with automatic weapons. At the same time, an arrest wave against the opposition was launched and the opposition’s meetings and demonstrations were banned.
- A2zdirectory: Describes prehistory and early history of Armenia. Includes history from colony to an independent nation.
The elected President Sargsyan was chairman of the Young Communists in Stepanakert during the Communist era. He is now chairman of the Conservative Party and in the 1990’s helped organize the fighting on Nagorno-Karabakh. He was inaugurated as president in April and immediately appointed the partyless central bank governor Tigran Sargsyan as prime minister (the two are not related).
In April 2008, Sargsyan directed an unusually sharp attack on the country’s customs, which he characterized as being steeped in corruption.
In October 2009, the President agreed to sign a protocol with Turkey involving the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. As part of the agreement, an investigative commission is set up to investigate the Turkish genocide of Armenians during World War I.
Inspired by the “Arab Spring”, the opposition held protests and demonstrations throughout 2011 against the government and the president. The protesters demanded political reform, release of political prisoners and prosecution of those responsible for the murders of protesters in 2008. The government gave some concessions such as the investigation of the murders in 2008, the release of several activists from the opposition and permission to protest at the Freedom Square in Yerevan. The demonstrations peaked in March as up to 100,000 demonstrated against the government. They continued to a lesser extent until November.
During a visit to Armenia in October 2012, the European Anti-Torture Committee stated that “virtually none of its recommendations since the previous visit in December 2011 had been followed”. It also stated that conditions at the Kentron prison in Yerevan made it unsuitable for detention of prisoners for extended periods.
There was no progress in the conflict around Nagorno Karabakh during Sargsyan’s first presidential term. Sargsyan and Armenia maintained a hateful discourse against Azerbaijan. In return, he sought reconciliation with Turkey. In October 2009, the two countries signed an agreement to resume diplomatic relations, and the border between the two countries reopened after Turkey closed it in 1993. However, it was not an uncomplicated reconciliation. Many Armenians were opposed, and in Turkey it was still denied that there was a genocide on Armenians in 1915.