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Science and Education

ne of the resources of the economic development for Armenia is its scientific technological potential. Armenia has a well developed system of higher educational institutions and research and development institutes. This network supported the development of several high tech industries accounting for substantial growth in Armenia’s economy in the last decades.

Education 

ducation has always played a central role in Armenia. First universities emerged in the 10th - 13th centuries. Such educational centers as Ani, Gladzor and Tatev universities had become benchmarks of Armenia’s progressive spiritual development. In today’s Armenia eight to ten years of schooling are required, from the ages 6-16. After this, students have the opportunity to attend a 2-year college (vocational school). Armenia also has an extensive network of universities and institutes, all of which offer graduate programs. Some 90% of the population is literate, of which 15.4% has eight years of education, 44.6% has ten years and background in a trade, and 13.1% has a higher education degree. 

There are 25 public institutions of higher education in Armenia (including seven colleges), with 26,000 students attending . There are also 40 private educational institutions with a total of 14,000 students. 

The leading educational institutions, such as Yerevan State University, State Engineering University of Armenia, Yerevan State Medical University, the Armenian Academy of Agriculture, Yerevan State Institute for Russian and Foreign Languages, and Yerevan Komitas Conservatory, have been recognized for their outstanding achievements in their fields. 

Science

he National Academy of Sciences, founded in 1943, developed into a network of 30 scientific research centers. Theoretical research in different scientific fields was well known both in FSU and abroad. On this sound basis, both academic and other scientific research institutions have carried out significant applied research work. The majority of scientific institutes are diversified research centers. 

The economic crisis seriously affected the system, substantially reducing the budget financing for scientific research institutes. In 1990, 130 institutes employing 20,000 researchers were being run by the country. By 1995, this had been reduced to 119 institutions with slightly over 5000 employed. Only those projects that supported the restructuring of essential industries could be financed due to the severe limitations of the budget. 

The sharp decline of the economy diminished the technological development needs of the industrial enterprises. This broke the strong working relationships between research institutes and industry that had existed in the past years. The stabilization of the economy and particularly the large scale privatization of enterprises created an opportunity for the scientific research centers to regain a leading position by creating an innovative business market. The distribution of scientific institutions by different spheres of science is shown below: 
 
Research Areas State Financed Research
  Institutions Scientists
Mathematics, mechanics, informatics 12 424
Physics, astrophysics  13 857
Technical science 19 268
Chemical science 17 479
Earth science  13 382
Medicine, biology 36 1304
Arts 7 125
Architecture, construction  6 16
Agriculture 23 496
Humanities, social studies 28 644

Technology

he analysis of patented inventions made by Armenian scientists and engineers in the period of 1980 to 1990 shows the scale of impact of research centers on industrial technologies. During the same period, 4263 inventions were patented amounting to 22 inventions per 1000 researchers per year. 

Many inventions that are still waiting to be implemented could have substantial impact on the technological development in Armenia and abroad. Investments in these innovations could prove to be worthwhile ventures. Another option for a foreign investor is the field of research and development. Armenian researchers have proven to be efficient in developing internationally marketable technologies. One such successful product developed in the Armenian Academy of Science is a baby food called Narine. Narine has therapeutic and nutritive qualities and was licensed to the Japanese Miki Trading Company. 

The economic recovery of the country depends to a great extent on the transfer into Armenia of industrial technology from abroad. The established network of research and development institutions with qualified professionals makes this transfer feasible in a short period of time.

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Courtesy of 
Armenian Embassy Washington DC 
Web site: www.armeniaemb.org

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Updated 30 August 1999 ..
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