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Armenian Education Minister in Germany; Seeks Cooperation to Build "Academic City"

Armenian Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports Zhanna Andreasyan left for Germany today on a three-day working visit to discuss possible cooperation with German universities to build a so-called “academic city” in Armenia.

Andreasyan will meet with officials from the Munich University of Technology and the Bundeswehr University of Munich. Andreasyan will also meet with German cultural and sports officials.

Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan, this March, said the country’s higher education sector comprised of sixty colleges and universities is overburdened administratively.

“Sixty universities mean sixty rectors, 120 vice-rectors, several hundred deans, and some 1,000 deputy deans, etc.,” he said.

Pashinyan pointed out that if Armenia were to certify state and private universities according to international standards, not one school in the country would be certified.

He said his administration’s long-term goal is not to have any university in the capital Yerevan and that all higher education institutions must be in an “Academic City”.

While Pashinyan didn’t specify the estimated cost of the planned “Academic City”, he did say it would cost “billions of dollars”.

A coalition of tech and science sector entrepreneurs and researchers in Armenia, going under the name Gituzh (Power of Science) says the Armenian government’s plan to build an “Academic City” housing eight universities in the country lacks a clear purpose and cannot address Armenia’s challenges through science.

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