For English Proficiency: AGBU expands Education Innovation Platform for Armenia

The world’s largest Armenian non-profit organization is expanding its education innovation platform in Armenia also to include a program aimed at raising the level of English proficiency in the country.

According to the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), a program – founded in September 2015 by Australian Armenian siblings Ray and Meline Nazloomian – joins English-speakers in the Diaspora with English-learners in Armenia to help improve English proficiency in the country.

“Seeing their program grow exponentially in its first year, the Nazloomians chose to partner with AGBU to help further grow and develop ANI,” the organization said.

According to an AGBU press release, this partnership is the latest initiative to reach the program’s goal of connecting students in Armenia with native English speakers across the globe. ANI connects coaches and students for a free, once-a-week, 30-minute to 45-minute, one-on-one Skype session, during which students have the opportunity to practice and improve their English outside the classroom. The curriculum is broken into 12-week blocks and students and coaches can continue their work together for as many blocks as they choose.

“We were startled by the fact that only 4 percent of Armenians in Armenia could speak English fluently. Knowing how important speaking English is in an increasingly globalized world, we were interested in leveraging modern technology to mobilize the over nine million Armenians in the Diaspora to improve English proficiency in Armenia. Our vision is that by 2020, 100 percent of Armenian students can speak English fluently,” said Ray Nazloomian.

By April 2016, the program included 60 students from across Armenia and 60 coaches from Australia, Canada, Europe, the Middle East and the United States. ANI also has a rich connection with the AGBU New York Summer Internship Program (NYSIP), with co-founder Meline and many of the current coaches being NYSIP alumni. Now with the support of AGBU, the program is in the process of increasing its number of coaches and students. AGBU Armenian Virtual College (AVC) has already begun work in Armenia to encourage more students to participate in the program. One can register as a coach or a student by visiting www.myani.org.