Education 17:10 20/03/2021 Armenia

Khachik Nazaryan: Science is in dire state in Armenia, scientists face a bleak future

Science is the lifebelt for a state to recover from crises. In Armenia, however, the scientific potential goes down drastically and loses on high volumes. This is the alarm raised by dozens of associations, which have established Gituzh (Power of Science) initiative. They demand the government to increase the budget allocations to the science sector. The petition is published on website and  collected 7,500 signatures thus far. 

"Science is a nourishing source for other sectors," Director of Engineering at VMware company, board member at the Union of Advanced Technology Enterprises (UATE) Khachik Nazaryan told an interview with In his words, the science is often linked to the development of technologies, yet science, per him, is everywhere - in political science, diplomacy, linguistics, Turkish studies, etc. 

"Gaps in these humanitarian disciplines had a more negative impact on the country than the ones on the technological sector. It is now convenient to refer to the technological sector, the security, as those are related to business and income, yet there is no a possibility to assess the losses emanating from the defeat of the diplomatic thought. The Artsakh war is one of the vivid examples of the above-said," Nazaryan explained. 

He highlights the education-science and primarily science-education links. In the words of the technologist, science is the producer of knowledge and the sector that prepares highly qualified specialists. 

"Everyone forgets who are writing textbooks. Those are the results of scientific work. The best form of higher education is through learning from a researcher and a scientist. That is to say, the science-education link is stronger and more important. We often hear recommendations to start improving the things from kindergartners. Who is tasked to solve that issue and what knowledge and models are needed for that? It is possible only through science. We may think there is much science in the world and no need for us to produce the one, instead taking and applying from others. However, even taking from others, adapting and localizing is possible only when you have specialists with relevant skills," Nazaryan said. 

People with good understanding about the need of additional funding to the science sector have to explain to authorities the dire situation in the country and urge  them to take steps to prevent irreversible negative consequences, call on bold and revolutionary undertakings. 

"A country that once had some 40 thousand scientists, has only 4 thousand today, and most of them are aged. Young scientists obtain their Ph.D  and disappear. It is evident if we take no action in the next five years, there will be no scientists in Armenia. The issue is urgent and requires solution though increasing the funds directed towards science. When possible, we need also to organize a  brain-drain."

In Nazaryan's words, scientists may not be invited to live in Armenia but can be offered teaching online or managing scientific labs remotely. "The matter is urgent and acknowledging its urgency makes it easier to address all other issues," stressed our interlocutor, noting no difficulty may impede and block the solution. 

Commenting on the recent meeting of the initiative members with the government representative, Nazaryan said with sorrow that the responsible bodies for the sector within the government do not recognize the urgency of the matter and that the respective minister lacks enough will to address the issue. 

"There were a lot of discussions, public promises recently, yet we fo not see long-term commitments. We were promised to see increased financing of the sector in this year's budget, however the amount is too small and the general approach lacks strategy. We want the law to fix the increase of the funding continually year over year and be linked to the GDP percentage for the country to give a message to the scientific community and the world. That would be important in terms of the government commitments. Although we have heard promises, yet the practical solutions are in no way compatible with the depth and urgency of the problem," noted Nazaryan.

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