ASTRONOMY AT SCHOOL
First ideas on astronomy the present pupils in Armenia get at elementary schools owing to special hours prescribed for the introduction of elementary knowledge on the structure of the surrounding world. Astronomy as a distinct subject is taught at all secondary schools in the country as well. Teaching is conducted according to a unified program elaborated jointly by professional astronomers and astronomy teachers and finally recommended by the Ministry of Education for all the schools in the country. The textbook used is written by Dr. S.E. Nersissian.
However, both the secondary and elementary schools suffer the shortage of astronomy teachers, which negatively affects the education quality. The point is that only one hour per week is allocated for teaching astronomy, which obviously is not enough workload to hire specialized astronomy teachers at every school. For a decade in 1980s of last century this problem was partially solved using Yerevan planetarium capacities with professional lecturers invited from Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory (BAO) and Yerevan State University (YSU). Unfortunately since the very beginning of 1990s of the last century the planetarium ceased to operate and there are negligible chances for its reopening in the near future. In some schools facultative training is organized faced to the amateurs craving for a deeper teaching of astronomy.
During recent years annual competitions for revealing gifted pupils in astronomy are organized by Ministry of Education in collaboration with BAO. These are Astronomical School Olympiads.