Thesis

Higher education in Armenia during and after the Soviet era

In the 20th century Armenia was a part of the Soviet Union. For 70 years, Armenia operated within a socialistic higher education system. After the destruction of the Soviet Union, the higher education system of Armenia changed. The purpose of this study was to gather data about student views of the higher education system in Armenia both during the Soviet era and after the Soviet era. To do this, the author surveyed 24 students, 12 who studied during the Soviet era and 12 who studied after the Soviet era. The responses were analyzed by group, looking at common themes and as a whole, when comparing the two educational systems. Both qualitative and quantitative analysis techniques were used. The findings indicated that the strongest advantages during the Soviet era were financial, with stipends awarded based on performance, job security, and prestige. Disadvantages were linked to strong competition to get into programs, lack of choices in fields of study, and loss of individual (Armenian) identity. The strongest advantages in the post-Soviet era were greater number of choices in courses of study, opportunities to study abroad, and sense of personal/Armenian identity. The disadvantages were lack of financial aid and ability to find employment. The results of a t test for independent means on the ranking of the quality of the higher education system during the Soviet era and after the Soviet era, was statistically significant, with both groups ranking the Soviet era system as superior.

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