RA Minister of Education and Science visits “Chess” Scientific Research Institute
On February 22, the “Chess” Scientific Research Institute hosted Arayik Harutyunyan, Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Armenia. The meeting focused on training of chess teachers, review of homework and assessment system and other issues.
The minister said the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the complaints of parents regarding chess lessons, assessment system and improvement of the effectiveness of chess teaching.
Smbat Lputyan, Vice-president of the Armenian Chess Federation, Head of the Chair of Chess and Sports at Armenian State Pedagogical University and Director of “Chess” Scientific Research Institute, spoke about the activity of the Institute and introduced the team of sociologists, methodologists and psychologists who have been conducting research and analyses since 2012, after the introduction of the subject at school.
While enumerating the advantages, Arayik Harutyunyan said chess develops logical thinking, communication skills, stimulates deep concentration, etc. He also presented the results of multilateral research, analyses, reports of different years, parents’ opinions, and surveys among schoolchildren.
Speaking about the results, the speakers emphasized the importance of training and retraining of teachers which helped acheive tangible results in terms of enhancing the effectiveness of the subject teaching. Particularly, according to a survey among 2nd-4th graders, most children mentioned “Chess” among the three favorite subjects.
The representatives of the Institute say that since the foundation of the Institute they have been trying to understand the claim that ‘chess is not for everybody’ and have conducted studies in special schools providing inclusive and special needs education. Researchers agree that the most important factor in choosing the right methods while teaching chess is the level of teachers’ preparedness.
“One of the biggest problems is to train chess teachers to improve the quality of chess education. Although we have achieved positive results, we still have a lot to do in this direction,” said Mr. Lputyan. Speaking about the impact of chess on other subjects he said that the wise game develops skills which people need.
The Minister of Education and Science conveyed to the working group the complaints of parents regarding the introduction of chess as a compulsory school subject and advised everyone to get acquainted with the results of the survey.
“Parents and teachers complain about children’s grades, but we should first hear children’s opinions. As a result of grades in elementary schools, qualitative achievements of children are lost. At this age, a greater emphasis should be placed on the development of children’s skills and abilities,” said Heghine Khachatryan, Dean of the Faculty of Primary Education at ASPU. She added that development of the primary education concept is a priority.
Srbuhi Gevorgyan, ASPU Vice-Rector for Educational and Scientific Affairs, spoke about the number of publications on chess in international peer-reviewed databases and the work carried out in that direction. The minister urged to study the influence of chess and it relationship with other subjects on the level of postgraduate studies as well.
Professor Vladimir Karapetyan, Head of the Chair of Preschool Pedagogy and Methodology, focused on the role of chess. “Chess opens our brain to divergent thinking,” the professor stressed.
At the end of the meeting, Smbat Lputyan assured everyone that the research conducted by the Institute arouses great interest in the world. The more research is done, the more effective the sphere will be. He also stressed the need of continuous profession development of teachers.