Life Skills Curriculum
A variety of meetings were held with various stakeholders interested in education reform in Armenia and in 1998 UNICEF and the Armenian Ministry of Education and Science (MOES) agreed to implement a Life Skills curriculum. The project was piloted in the first and fifth grades in 16 schools in 1999-2000. In 2000-2001 the project was expanded to 100 schools and to the second and sixth grades. UNICEF provided funding and some logistical support and the MOES provided administrative and logistical project support and workspace for the curriculum development team.
Implementation of the Life Skills curriculum, modeled on a Canadian program, was selected because it focuses on developing a set of skills that research has shown contribute to the types of changes sought in Armenia. A Canadian team trained a Core Team of curriculum developers and teacher trainers to write a curriculum tailored for Armenian students and train teachers in implementation. The focal skills of the curriculum included:
– Decision making
– Problem solving
– Creative thinking
– Critical thinking
– Effective communication
– Interpersonal relationship skills
– Coping with emotions
– Coping with stress
An evaluation report on the Life Skills Integration program is available for review (see Resources Section below).
Peace and Conflict Resolution Education
The goals and issues of the “Peace and Conflict Resolution Education in Schools” project implemented by “Women for Development” NGO reflect current educational issues of Armenia and contribute to their resolution. The project also supports the process of development of creative individuals, and while carrying out project activities, the priority is given to the development of communication skills among the schoolchildren. New strategic vision for education has been adopted; the process of development emphasizes education as a driver of competitiveness.
Starting with 2005, “Women for Development” NGO actively cooperates with the National Institute of Education of the RA Ministry of Education and Science in frames of the “Peace and Conflict Resolution Education in Schools” project. Main points of the Memorandum of Cooperation signed in 2005 have already been carried out: activities of Peace Education Centers established in 10 schools and Gyumri State Pedagogical Institute were evaluated together with project results; project staff received support and consultation in the process of development of “Peace and Conflict Resolution Education” training course. In December 2007 WFD NGO and NIE reviewed the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2005 and signed a new Memorandum with the following major points: to elaborate the pilot version of “Peace and Conflict Resolution Education in Schools” methodological manual for the teachers of secondary schools together with NIE during 2008-2009; to organize trainings for the teachers and lecturers of the Peace Education Centers together with NIE. Joint trainings will be conducted for teachers from different schools with the goal of spreading ideas of peace and conflict resolution education. 1500 students, 250 in-service and 300 pre-service teachers will receive “Peace and Conflict Resolution Education” training in 2008-2010.