The children are left out of education because of poor social conditions and having special needs. This date is picked from the results of “The Protection of the Right to Education of Children who are Left out of Education” program carried out by Armenian Helsinki Committee.
The program pursued an aim of revealing those children, who are left out of education, disclosing the reasons, elaborating recommendations and submitting them to state bodies, local self-government bodies and non-governmental organizations.
The research was carried out in 54 communities of 9 regions and in Shengavit Administrative District.
In the 55 communities 101 children have been registered, who because of various reasons do not receive basic education, that is to say they haven’t graduated from 9 grade, and that is required by the legislation, says Hasmik Hovhannisyan, representative of Armenian Helsinki Committee.
The most of these children come from needy families.
“The parents state that their children do not go to school because ofthe lack of clothes, shoes and stationery”, says Sirvard Mamikonyan, executive director of Armenian Helsinki Committee and specialist of Children’s Rights.
The research showed that some of those children help their parents to solve the social problems. Especially in the rural communities there are many children, who do not go to school or are regularly absent from the lessons because they are involved in agricultural activities or do other work to earn money.
“The government and the interested organizations should provide those families with at least the minimum conditions for the children not to be left out of education”, mentions Sirvard Mamikonyan.
However, Hasmik Hovhannisyan thinks it is significant for the parents to realize the importance of education, because the research has shown that the children from needy families go or do not go to school regardless of the social conditions.
According to the data of the research 30 of 101 children, who are left out of education, do not go to school as a result of a need of special education conditions. One of the reasons is that there is no special or inclusive school in the community, and the people who implement the program suggest developing an appropriate system of making the inclusive education available in all communities.
There are also cases when the parents are ashamed of or avoid taking the children to special or inclusive schools.
“We have to work with the parents to raise the level of awareness”, concludes Sirvard Mamikonyan.
The research also revealed children who though registered in the schools, however very often are absent from the lessons. “The teachers do them a favour by not marking them absent, thus their education is formal”, says the representative of Helsinki Committee, adding that there have been many such children in the Lori region.
The children with family problems and children from the families that frequently change the dwelling place are very often left out of education.
The public places and the vicinities of markets and churches were observed during the monitoring as well, in order to disclose vagrant or begging children. A child was disclosed in the Gyumri municipal cemetery and another child-in Lori. “But they are extremely vulnerable, they avoid people and we could not talk to them to find out who they were and why they appeared on the street”, says Sirvard Mamikonyan.
No vagrant or begging children have been disclosed in Shengavit community of Yerevan.
Armenian Helsinki Committee suggests establishing effective control system for the children, who do not go to school, making the cooperation between the competent ministries, corresponding departments of regional municipalities and local self-government bodies efficient in order to provide the right to education of those children who are left out of education.
“Those children are left out of not only educational system but also of a whole social system, with the range of consequences deriving from that. And the state needs to have a joint policy and a system approach in order to settle that issue”, thinks Artak Kirakosyan, chairman of board of the NGO, general secretary of the International Federation For Human Rights, who is also chairman of the group conducting observation in the special institutions ofsecondary education.
According to him the state bodies and departments have to confess that they are not able to settle the issue on their own. Mr. Kirakosyan suggests to establish a special network of beneficiary and human rights protection organizations, journalists, state bodies to solve the problems of those children who are left out of education.
Mr. Kirakosyan thinks that the network should work on the problems of each child and make annual reports emphasizing not the quantity but the quality of the result.