High schools-to-Higher Education Institutions transition’ Baseline Study

Project title:
‘High schools-to-Higher Education Institutions transition’ Baseline Study
Funding Agency: Center for Education Projects, WB
Project Partner: Ministry of Education and Science of the RA
MoES of RA, Higher Educational Institutions, High schools
Project Duration:
August 1 2009, November 10, 2009


Since 2003 IATC is involved in research projects, which are mainly related to the different layers of the RA Educational system. This survey has been carried out by the “International Accountancy Training Centre” Educational Fund (IATC Fund) according to the Terms of Reference and due to the Contract N 82/09 signed between IATC Fund and The Center for Education Projects PIU on July 8, 2009.

According to the Contract during the first stage the methodology of the study was developed and presented to PIU on August 19, 2009. The methodology was discussed and reviewed based on these discussions. The study was conducted on the basis of the reviewed methodology. The preliminary findings of the study were presented during the Conference on October 22-23, 2009 in Yerevan.

This final report contains the summary of main findings and conclusions of the study as well as statistical and factorial analysis of the data, Appendix of diagrams, schemes and matrixes.

Project Description

Need for the study: The Republic of Armenia has joined the Bologna declaration for creation of European Higher Education Area and undertakes to integrate a higher education quality assurance system according to European standards by 2012-2013. There are a number of key areas the process is focusing on to achieve its objectives.

• Adoption of a system of easily readable and comparable degrees, also through the implementation of the Diploma Supplement, in order to promote European citizens employability and the international competitiveness of the European higher education system
• Adoption of a system essentially based on two main cycles, undergraduate and graduate. Access to the second cycle shall require successful completion of first cycle studies, lasting a minimum of three years. The degree awarded after the first cycle shall also be relevant to the European labor market as an appropriate level of qualification. The second cycle should lead to the master and/or doctorate degree as in many European countries.
• Promotion of mobility by overcoming obstacles to the effective exercise of free movement.
• Promotion of European co-operation in quality assurance with a view to developing comparable criteria and methodologies.
• Promotion of the necessary European dimensions in higher education, particularly with regards to curricular development, inter-institutional co-operation, mobility schemes and integrated programs of study, training and research.

The implementation of above mentioned goals is very complicated and long term process. To assist this process World Bank jointly with the Government of the Republic of Armenia will implement “Education Quality and Relevance” Second Project, which is anticipated for five years beginning from 2009. In the frames of the Project it is planned to develop and implement appropriate financial mechanisms in the form of student loans which will allow not excluding students from low-income families who want to get higher education.

The Objective of the Study is to evaluate and analyze current situation in high schools and higher education system in Armenia regarding to its correspondence to the reforms in higher education area.

Methods: To achieve goal of this study and to get appropriate results a combined methodology has been used based on both qualitative and quantitative approaches. In particular the following methods have been used:

1. Formalized interviews/survey with pupils of 10-11 grades and HEI students;
2. Focused interviews with pupils’ and students’ parents;
3. Focus groups with teachers and lecturers;
4. In-depth interviews with the management staff of HEIs and schools;
5. Expert interviews
6. Analysis of Documents
7. Secondary Analysis of Statistical Data

Research instruments and mechanisms: The selection of research instruments and mechanisms has been done based on the getting of objective and unbiased information from respondents. The main research instruments are the following: questionnaires (which have been filled by respondents) and interview guides (used by interviewers).

• Questionnaires have been used to conduct survey among pupils and students, for these purposes two types of questionnaire have been developed – Pupil Questionnaire and Student Questionnaire.
• Interview Guides have been used for conducting focused, in-depth and expert interviews and focus groups.

Quantitative Sampling: According to the objective and main questions of this study to conduct survey among pupils and students the strategy of multilevel sampling has been used, in particular:

Selection of schools has been done based on the principle of purposeful sampling. Thus, schools from the list of high school pilot stage / as from September 1, 2008 10 high schools have been established in 4 regions of the Republic of Armenia, so in first step automatically have been selected not only schools but also the regions (Marzes)/ and general schools from the same geographical location have been selected. In some case this kind of sampling present sampling of control groups, as it let us ensure further comparability of research results. 4 schools have been selected from 10 pilot high schools – one from each Marz. 8 schools altogether have been selected – 4 high schools and 4 general schools.

Selection of pupils. Number of pupils to be surveyed has been defined based on the whole number of pupils from 10-11th grades of selected schools. After this, the whole number of pupils to be surveyed was distributed among schools proportionally. As of these 355 pupils has been surveyed, from which 238 pupils or 61.3 % - from high schools.

Selection of higher education institutes. The main criteria while selecting HEIs is if the institution has any experience in integrating of internal quality assurance mechanisms or has no experience in this area. In general, 6 HEIs have been selected, three of which have some experience in integrating internal quality assurance mechanisms and other three HEIs have no experience in this area.

Selection of students has been done based on the whole number of students and then proportionally distributed the sampling among selected HEIs. According to the objective of the study, we have formed two targeted groups` 1-2 year undergraduate students (bachelor) and master students. In fact 381 students have been surveyed, from which 138 are undergraduate students and 53 – master students.

Sampling of parents has been done in a random way – at pupils’ and students’ own choosing based on the phone number information that they could mention in the last page of questionnaire. Altogether focused interviews have been conducted with 132 parents, from which 41 are high school pupils’ parents and 52 – students’ parents.

Qualitative sampling. Combined qualitative-quantitative approach has a privilege that let us get in-depth information on specific issues using interview guides in short period. Here is the list of qualitative methods planned and suggested in the Technical Proposal and then conducted during the study.

Stages of the study. The whole study has been conducted during July-November 2009. The works have been done by three stages, which are specific not only by the period but also by content.

• The first stage was the prior one, during which all documents regarding educational legislation, international agreements, reports, prepared by the MoES and other state organizations, reports of local and international experts, as well as all statistical data related to the education field have been collected and analyzed. During this stage also the following works have been done:
• The second stage is the stage of fieldworks. The information received during the fieldworks has been summarized:
• The third stage is the stage of analysis, during which analytic matrixes, diagrams and graphs have been prepared, which have been used in further analysis. Also a combined approach on using the document analysis results has been implemented.