School N3 of Charentsavan town, Kotayk Marz, has been on a strike for 11 days against the appointment of the new Principal, Anna Balyan. Students and their parents want the former one, Lousineh Karapetyan. Acting Prime-Minister Nikol Pashinyan visited the school on December 12.
Nikol Pashinyan was informed of the issues at the school during his pre-election campaign visit to Charentsavan and promised to get familiarized with them.
On November 9, the school board held elections and the former Lousineh Karapetyan lost the post of the Principal to Anna Balyan by one vote.
Parents and students claim that the elections were not fair and were guided by one of the candidates and Governor of Kotayk, Romanos Petrosyan. The incumbent Principal claims that pressures were exerted by the former Principal.
After a closed meeting with the former and current Principals, Nikol Pashinyan spoke to the parents and students gathered in front of the school.
“I don’t think that a country’s Prime-Minister should deal with school Principal appointment issues, but honestly, these discussions are useful for me too, because there are many issues in the public education system which need to be resolved… My first impression is that both the former and current Principals are wonderful pedagogues and our task is to find out to what extent the elections of the Principal were fair,” said Pashinyan.
As the elections were legitimate, the results also are legitimate and there are no mechanisms to revoke them therefore the appointment decision will be made on that same day.
Pashinyan called on the students to resume classes. “What’s worst is the perception that a school principal is the school itself, that a Prime-Minister thinks that he is the county, that a Governor thinks that he is the Marz. No, this is not the school of the Principal, this is the school of the Republic of Armenia.”
Lousineh Karapetyan had earlier appealed the results of the elections to the Ministry of Education and the Ministry set up a committee which concluded that no procedural violations had taken place. Lousineh will not follow Pashinyan’s advice to turn to the court as “they are the same old courts.”
The parents supporting the strike of their children were not able to give a single argument why they opposed the new Principal. Only one parent said that they didn’t recognize her and had no problems with her.
Students were chanting supportive slogans for their former Principal. To the question whether they would listen to the call of Pashinyan and would resume classes, they said. “We’ll see what our parents and teachers will say.”
After Pashinyan left, parents and students hoarded into the school and started to vandalize tables, wall papers and other property in the library, according to the librarian.