Six newly-renovated and refurbished school science labs are the latest big news for FAR’s Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Program (BCPP).

The labs, which were finished in the summer of 2018 will help immensely in this impoverished border region where most schools are forced to just teach science from a textbook, denying their students the opportunity for practical experience and learning. The result? Typically a fragmented and incomplete education, and a population of young people whole grow up with little knowledge about or interest in the sciences.

“When we saw the new labs, the teachers and schoolchildren were excited. However, the teachers also needed training to enhance their knowledge on how to use the latest modern equipment. And we didn’t make them wait long,” said FAR Education and Science Programs Manager Eduard Karapetyan.

In addition to the renovations and new equipment, FAR also collaborated with Dr. Poghos Gabrielyan, a PhD in physics, to train science teachers on how to make the most out of these labs as a teaching resource in order to effectively lead physics, chemistry and biology classes.

“During the meeting with teachers from Berd City, Paravakar, Tavush, Aygedzor, Artsvaberd, and Movses communities, I introduced them to the equipment and we did some practice lessons and labs,” said Dr. Gabrielyan. “What inspired me to join this program is that my mission goes hand-in-hand with FAR’s long-term goal, which is to prepare teachers as trainers so that they can later train others from rural areas.”

The impacts of the Soviet Union’s collapse are still palpable in Armenia, and with the rapid pace of technology, teachers in Armenia—especially those in rural areas—still have a lot to learn. The better trained teachers are and the greater resources they have can potentially influence students to do better in school and even pursue science as a career.

“I appreciate FAR for not only bringing needed equipment to the labs and bringing them up to date, but also for teaching staff about modern techniques. This is the focal point of sustainable development when it comes to education,” said Dr. Gabrielyan.

Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Program (BCPP) is a multidimensional FAR project implemented in the Berd Region of Tavush Province, and is sponsored by the Edward and Helen Mardigian Foundation.