Six schools have brand-new science labs as a result of FAR’s Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Program (BCPP).* The labs, all of which now have new equipment and furniture, were ready at the start of the new school year for the teachers and students of Berd City’s School #3, as well as those in Paravakar, Tavush, Aygedzor, Artsvaberd, and Movses villages. All of the construction materials and equipment were provided by FAR.

Intensive training courses held before the start of this school year helped to bring all chemistry and physics teachers up-to-date on how to incorporate the equipment and resources into their lessons.

During the official opening ceremony for the labs, FAR Education and Science Programs Director Eduard Karapetyan highlighted the importance of the renovated, refurbished and technically-equipped labs in igniting the students’ interest in the natural sciences and in helping teachers to transfer their knowledge of theory through practicum.

“We have a big technical gap, especially in the regional schools when it comes to teaching children the natural sciences. Theoretical knowledge isn’t solely enough for these students to know before entering university. Our observations have shown that the number of students enrolled in natural sciences has drastically decreased, meaning that sooner or later this field might face a shortage of professionals, ultimately leading to the degradation of science,” he said.

Paravakar Village School physics teacher Levon Chilingaryan said he noticed an increase in his students’ interest in science just two weeks into the new school year. “Previously, I had never been asked a single question during class. Now they have a lot of questions. During lab time they are interested in everything, even in how the technical devices work,” said Chilingaryan who teaches 7th -12th grade.

Ani Hovhannisyan, an 8th grader at Paravakar, has a growing interest in physics. “Before, it seemed we were just learning texts of physics books by heart without understanding what they were about. After doing actual experiments things became less symbolic and we started actually discussing with one another what these phenomena were,” Ani said.

Any Melikyan, a 9th grader at School #3, said she has started to better understand physics and chemistry. “When I first saw the lab equipment it was not clear to me what to do with it and how to use it. During the first lesson, the teacher called us to take part in an experiment and it was then that I was able to better understand that particular law of physics,” she said.