Armenia introduces Generation AI program in schools to help children become top professionals in future career
Students at several schools across Armenia will have the chance to study the compelling world of artificial intelligence through Generation AI - an initiative of the Foundation for Armenian Science and Technology (FAST) designed in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture, and Sports.
Generation AI is a multi-stage program that starts at the school level. It will be integrated into the public education system to ensure sustainability and support systematic change.
Generation AI is aimed at fostering a new generation of AI researchers equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in an AI-driven world.
Susanna Azatyan, the Head of the Division of Development and Implementation of General and Extracurricular Programs at the Department of Public Education in the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports tells ARMENPRESS that they welcome the implementation of such programs because it will contribute to school students making the right career choice. She said that the Armenian labor market needs the professional resource of AI.
“It is planned to test the program in two levels. Level one will start from the 10th grade and will be aimed at developing a group of students with mathematical and algorithmic mentality who will obtain the necessary skills and will receive professional orientation for choosing their future educational path. The pilot stage will be launched in September of 2023. Level two will start from the second semester of 11th grade and will enable students to obtain advanced theoretical and practical knowledge and skills in AI. We plan to launch the pilot program of Level 2 from January of 2023 in high schools of Tavush province as part of the ministry’s crediting system of secondary education,” Azatyan said.
Azatyan added that this program is in line with the targets of the 2022-2026 action plan of the education reforms.
Meanwhile, FAST Educational Programs Lead Anush Ayvazyan said Generation AI is still under development and the program envisages the improvement of the quality of general mathematical skills in the 10-12th grades, improvement of programming and computer science education, which are the preconditions for learning AI and choosing a profession.
“It’s important that students understand AI’s essence and what an AI researcher does at the school level. Tutors will be trained and after finalizing all these components the program will be tested in 10 schools starting September 2023,” Ayvazyan said.
Ayvazyan highlighted that AI education must begin at the school level in order for students to have the chance of becoming globally leading, competitive specialists in their future careers given the fact that AI is one of the most rapidly developing directions in the world. She said there are various flaws in the school level which eventually lead to deeper problems when the students should become professionals.
“That’s why our program is starting at the school level, we are mainly emphasizing the skills which are the preconditions – math and programming. Then, the children who will be able to do more will be offered an advanced AI direction in the 12th grade.”
After building this foundation, the students who will display motivation and the skills in AI will be guided into the sector. Aside from changing the teaching methodology, the program will also involve professionals from the AI industry and academia as tutors in a hybrid format.
Ayvazyan noted that there’s been much interest for the program by both private and public schools. The FAST Educational Programs Lead highlighted the fact that Generation AI is a state program, and it will be an approved national curriculum instead of an extracurricular group.
“And overall this program is based on collaborations. We don’t seek to repeat or develop something entirely again, if there are organizations specializing in various components we cooperate with them, for example AYB, COAF, Teach for Armenia. Our desires and plans have matched with many of them and we already have preliminary agreements,” Anush Ayvazyan said.