00 SES 02 A, Discourse of out-of-school Children in Armenia: Methodological and Ethical Considerations
Despite the fact that no specific group of children is completely excluded from attending any type of school in Armenia, there are groups of children who are at risk of being excluded. Those are children from rural areas and from families with low socio-economic backgrounds, children with disability, ethnic minority children and girls.
Education attainment of children is linked to poverty status of their families. Non-poor families spend two to three times more on general education of their children than poor families. Differences in education spending among poor and non-poor families at middle school level are significant, while average monthly expenditure on education increases more than twice from elementary school to high school.
The comparative analysis of TIMSS 2003/2015 datasets for Armenia shows that education inequity in Armenia increased from 2003 to 2015.3 Students from higher socio-economic status (SES) backgrounds perform better in both mathematics and science than students from lower SES backgrounds. According to the same analysis, students from rural community schools performed worse in mathematics and science than students from urban areas. In the Armenian contexts, the gap is explained by the school size and teaching quality differences in urban and rural regions (smaller schools with limited teaching force in rural areas).
Another group, which face inequity in access to quality education are children of ethnic minorities. The school located in the Yezidi (the largest ethnic minority group leaving in Armenia) and other minority communities often lack subject teachers who speak native language of the minority group.3 Thus, the realization of the right to education of children of ethnic minority groups in Armenia is at risk.
Inclusive Education reforms in Armenia are predominantly focused on deinstitutionalization of children with disabilities and their placement in mainstream public schools rather than creating an education environment. Inclusive schools prefer to admit those “inclusive” children who bring additional funding to school but, at the same time, do not cause them too much additional work. Public inclusive schools fail to provide effective and sufficient support to children with hearing and visual impairments. There’s also a lack of local research, knowledge and experience for education of children with mental retardation, severe and multiple disabilities in mainstream inclusive schools.3
The procedure for identifying and directing children left out of compulsory education was approved by the Government of the Republic of Armenia on February 11, 2021.2 The latter follows from the mandatory requirement of 12 years of general education. This procedure provides definition of out-of-school children, respective information sources for the identification of those children and other important aspects. The rising importance of measuring exclusion from primary education is conditioned by the evidence that the number of out-of-school children in Armenia significantly increased from 2,920 children in 2007 to 10,477 in 2020.1 Interestingly, this increase does not necessarily condition by COVID-19 outbreak and national shutdown only, but socio economic conditions and other important external and internal factors. This is evidenced by the continuous increase in the number of children out of school during the last 10 years, the results of sociological surveys, researches and studies conducted by the Center for Educational Research and Consulting, and the opinions of experts in the field of education.
... During the last 10 years, the Center for Educational Research and Consulting has implemented various research programs related to the child rights situation in Armenia and children drop-out. In particular, within the framework of at least 7 research Projects our Center conducted identified, measured and described situation of the children left-out in Armenia related to the following sectors: - Inclusive education and exclusion of children with disabilities, - Situation analysis of child rights in closed institutions and orphanages, - Exclusion of children in times of COVID-19, - Education of Yezidi children both boys and girls etc. In frames of the session we will share our experience in measuring children’s exclusion from secondary education, methodological and ethical considerations of conducting research with out of school children and children from risk groups. In the meantime, during the session we are planning to discuss the most effective methodological ways to conduct the research with out of school children. References: 1.Armenia Education Statistics AM: Adjusted Net Enrollment Rate: Primary: % of Primary School Age Children 2.The procedure for identifying and directing children left out of compulsory education 3.Global Education Monitoring Report 2021 - Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia - Inclusion and education: All means all. 4.CHILDREN OUT OF SCHOOL: MEASURING EXCLUSION FROM PRIMARY EDUCATION
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