Primary school years
According to official data, almost all boys and girls in Armenia go to school, however, about 25 per cent of all school entrants in the country do not reach high school.
Based on an indiscriminate sampling check, it was estimated that 10 percent of students were absent from classes on a daily basis during 2006. According to official statistics in Armenia, dropout rates have relatively been low comparing to many other developing and developed countries, but have grown at an alarming rate annually. During the years of 2002-2003, 2003-2004, and 2004-2005, total dropouts were 1,531, 4,823, and 7,630 respectively and at annual growth rate of 250% on average. School drop-out rates are particularly high in rural areas and among minority groups and refugee children.
About 80 per cent of pre-school age children are not able to attend kindergartens or any other type of pre-school facility. High fees, lack of learning materials as well as qualified staff at kindergartens are among reasons cited by parents. The transfer of management of state-owned pre-schools under the control of local governments resulted in the closure of many kindergartens as many communities were not able to maintain them due to small budgets. Today, less than 20% of pre-school age children receive some kind of pre-school service. The discrepancy between rural and urban areas is very high. Only about seven per cent of pre-school age children living in rural areas receive pre-school education. Alternative community services exist only in few provinces of the country.
For the majority of children with special needs, receiving an education at regular schools is still an issue. Thanks to UNICEF, however, in recent years the number of children with special needs enrolled in regular kindergartens and schools has been increasing. Currently, more than 250 children attend 18 inclusive kindergartens and 257 children are enrolled in 14 inclusive schools in two provinces of Armenia. However, this is still too few. According to statistics maintained by the Ministry of Labour, there are approximately 8500 disabled school-age children in the country.
The education system in Armenia has inherited a teacher-centered curriculum for pre-schools and secondary schools,. This practice, however, is being gradually consigned to the past with the introduction and integration of the Life Skills Based Education methodology into the state education programmes.