Parent Power: Yerevan authorities scrap controversial kindergarten entry deadline

A weeklong debate between parents and Yerevan city authorities has yeiled its results – on Thursday the municipality abolished its pilot program for kindergartens which set the deadline for entry to kids at 8:30 in the morning, an hour earlier than the previous gate-closing time.

On Monday, on verbal orders from Yerevan mayor Karen Karapetyan, a pilot program was launched in 20 kindergartens in the city’s center, with the stated aim of easing the constantly congested traffic in the central streets of Yerevan during the morning rush hour. The order angered many parents, who were forced to change their morning ruitine in order to deliver their children in time and not to appear behind the door. A group of parents through online social network Facebook launched a group “Let us Sleep!” and appealed to the mayor, saying that the pilot program will not resolve the transportation problems in the city.

On Wednesday, several activist parents met with municipality officials and showed them the Armenian law on pre-school education which says that parents themselves shall define the flexibility of their children’s attendance schedule at kindergartens.

Later that day, directors of kindergartens got a call from the municipality and were told about the end of the pilot program. Instead, directors have to inform the municipality twice in the morning about the quantity of the children they have (at 9:00am and 9:30am) and meanwhile parents may apply to the kindergarten director and set the time convinient for them and their children.