From examiners to examinee: School principals take the exams to prove they are up to the job

Last week saw the launch of school management certificate exams which are aimed at improving public education in Armenia.

Nine out of 24 participants of the Friday exam who had applied for the public school management certificate, failed to answer even 5-10 out of 60 questions of the written test that is aimed at evaluating pedagogic proficiency. (Participants of the exam are prepared for any 60 of the total of 800 questions)

The test is written and oral, with the written part consisting of 800 questions referring to the Constitution of Armenia, the Labor Code of Armenia, as well as laws on education and children. Applicants answering correctly to at least 90 percent of the questions would be allowed to participate in the oral exam.

Ruzanna Muradyan, head of the Education without Borders NGO, in charge of school principal training, says the exam would help them master the related legislative field, and it would make the school management process more productive.

“Of course, 800 questions are a lot, but if prepared, it is not an impossible task. For example, one of the principals, participants of the Friday exam, who had been trained at our organization got a 100 percent result,” Muradyan says.

The applicants who successfully pass both written and oral exams, and receive the certificates, will have the right to participate in a competition for a headmaster vacancy at any school.

“I assure you this is one of the main tools which will give us an opportunity to improve the educational sector within the upcoming years, because school management problems are tightly connected with the quality of education and legitimacy now,” Minister of Science and Education of Armenia Armen Ashotyan said.

Anahit Bakhshyan, member of the NA Standing Committee on Education, who was at the exam on Friday, says that on that test day everything was held according to the plan, point by point, and with maximum transparency.

“I must say this is laudable, because principals will have some knowledge about the legislation of their sphere [education],” Bakhshyan says.