Help for the Challenged: Municipality/Academy join to make education available for physically challenged

As a result of cooperation between the National Academy of Fine Arts and City Hall of Yerevan, 18 physically challenged young people will be able to get designer education for up to 90 percent free.

Eduard Sedrakyan, rector of the academy founded in 1996 and located in Yerevan’s Arabkir community, told the press on Tuesday that the academy premises are fit for people with disabilities, hence they can benefit from the higher education the academy offers.

There are around 180,000 people with disabilities in Armenia, the majority of who are deprived of education opportunities.

“The building has an elevator, there is no need for wheelchair access ramps; we have only a toilet issue, but the designs are ready and we will be building them soon. And the professions we offer are such that even without having to move around too much they can simply turn one part of their apartments into a workshop and work from home. If we work together, I promise that a year later we will be attending a wonderful exhibition,” says Sedrakyan, adding that the education fee is 360,000 drams ($880), 60 percent of which is subsidized by the Yerevan municipality, 30 percent by the academy, and only the remaining 10 percent is what the student will have to pay.

Sociologist Aharon Adibekyan, professor at the Academy, says ten percent is symbolic money, but if the students are unable to pay even that much, they will turn to foundations for support.

“Students tend to not take education seriously when it’s free, but if they have their input, they will be better motivated to study well. Later if they become competent professionals there will always be need for such,” says Adibekyan, expressing hope that this can become a precedent for other universities as well.

Representatives of Unison and Pyunik organizations dealing with the issues of people with disabilities told ArmeniaNow that this is a great opportunity and the response was immediate with some young people eager to apply.

“The initiative has earned a lot of attention and interest, and if there are people with such talent, it will be wonderful. It’s a great chance for higher education, it’s a pity though in only one direction,” Marianna Chalikyan, press secretary at Unison, told ArmeniaNow.