Teacher training courses in Sydney

It has already been two years since the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia launched its program for support to the solution to cultural and educational issues facing Armenian communities in Australia. This year, the teacher training courses for teachers of one-day and daily Armenian schools were the most important part of the program. In 2013, Professor Julieta Gyulamiryan traveled to Australia with the support of the Ministry of Diaspora. The success of the training course for the teachers of schools in Sydney encouraged the Ministry of Diaspora and the educators of the Armenian community of Sydney to make this teacher training program ongoing.

This year, lecturer of the Armenian State Pedagogical University after Khachatur Abovyan, program coordinator at the International Junior Bachelor School of Anania Shirakatsi Lyceum, expert of the National Institute of Education Astghik Balayan paid a visit to Australia on 9-31 August. Three-week training courses, as well as meetings with teachers, guardianships and parents were organized under the initiative of the RA Ministry of Diaspora and with the support of the principals of one-day and daily Armenian schools of the Armenian community in Sydney.

In Sydney Mrs. Balayan hosted professional advancement courses with the teachers of Galstaun College, Alexander School, as well as the Alex Manoogian, Tumanyan, Targmanchats, Papazyan and Luys one-day schools. The courses were followed by joint and individual meetings.

In an interview with “Hayern Aysor”, Mrs. Balayan, who returned from Australia two days ago, mentioned that the training courses were very successful and that she had been able to transmit her professional skills to the teachers. However, Mrs. Balayan also reflected on several troubling issues that make the implementation of such programs more necessary, especially in the distant communities of the Armenian Diaspora.


According to Mrs. Balayan, throughout the years, the one-day and daily Armenian schools of Sydney have managed to establish traditions, provide students with an Armenian education and instill the spirit of the Armenians in Armenian children living thousands of kilometers away from the homeland. However, today, the problems facing Armenian schools are evident and quite troubling, and Astghik Balayan reflected on those problems during the interview.

“The principals and educators of the schools do everything they can to keep the schools open, but every year, more and more students are speaking in Armenian with each other. They even have trouble speaking Armenian in class.”

The second problem is that the teachers lack good command of the methodology for teaching Armenian as a foreign language. As Mrs. Balayan mentioned, motivation, patriotism and dedication are not enough. Schools need to be goal-oriented and consistent with the enhancement of professional qualities.

“The teachers are guided by the textbooks at their disposal and place emphasis on literary speech. However, the children lack verbal speech, and this leads to difficulties with communication in the future.

The third problem is the lack of sufficient and necessary materials for instruction. The textbooks and supporting materials don’t meet our needs. Different schools use different kinds of textbooks and lesson plans.”

According to Mrs. Balayan, the parents’ and children’s attitude toward the Armenian language is also a matter of concern.

“Many parents don’t attach importance to knowledge of the Armenian language and prefer to send their children to foreign schools. Unfortunately, the number of students attending Armenian schools is decreasing as fast as the Armenian community of Sydney grows. Today, there are approximately 35-40,000 Armenians living in Sydney, but there are only 600-700 children attending Armenian schools.

Although I highly appreciate the efforts of all patriotic Armenians of the community, I must say that only through combined efforts, long-term goals, the development of strategic programs and ongoing support from the Mother Homeland will it be possible to provide solutions to the above mentioned problems,” Mrs. Balayan said in closing.

By Lusine Abrahamyan


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