YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The US government announced the beginning of the student exchange programs for 2000-2001 implemented under the Freedom Support Act–Managers of the IREX Armenia and ACCELS Armenia offices Zara Hovhannissian and Ray Reader as well as Director of the US Public Relations Office–Melica Cooper told a news conference.
Manager of the IREX Armenia office Zara Hovhannissian reported that the organization has implemented consultation and student exchange programs since 1992. Six primary school teachers from Armenia are currently taking three-month courses at an American university under the teachers retraining program. After returning to Armenia they will test a recently developed manual for primary school teachers in 18 schools–and if successful it will be used in other schools.
Under the "Communal Ties" exchange program implemented in 1998–45 specialists from Giumri and Hrazdan took short-term training courses in the business and education spheres in the US. The 1999-2000 program will enable 60 specialists from Yerevan–Vanadzor–Sevan and Tsakhkadzor to take retraining courses in agriculture–labor market assessment–tourism–business–nature protection organization and management. In the US the "Communal Ties" program is implemented by volunteer organizations–"Sister-cities" international organization–universities and enterprises.
Ray Reader reported that the ACCELS organization is implementing four programs in Armenia. Under one of them–Armenian students go to the US for 1 or 2 years and will be allowed to receive a Master’s degree; this month 56 students have gone to the US. Under a second program–25 students went to the USA for one year. Senior pupils from Armenian schools will go to the US under a third program; the competition will be held late in September. Still another program will enable Armenian scientists to go to the US for 4-6 months to conduct research.
The programs implemented in Armenia by the IREX and ACCELS organizations are funded by the Educational and Cultural Programs Division–US Department of State.
It was also reported that American students and scientists will arrive in Armenia under the aforementioned programs. According to Zara Hovhannissian–many applications are made by Americans who wish to study in Armenian institutions of higher education–but it is impossible–as such Armenian schools are unable to provide scholarships.