The Human Rights
Defender has received verbal and written complaints about the 14th action
to neutralize the impact of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Armenia, as well as
carried out monitoring of mass media and social media.
The mentioned action
is aimed at supporting the citizens of the Republic of Armenia studying in the
educational institutions that offer higher and postgraduate (residency program)
educational programs in the Republic of Armenia.
The Government adopted
the decision regarding the action on April 23, 2020. Within the framework of
the action the students are provided with the support of:
- full or partial
tuition reimbursement (100% or 75%) with certain reservations;
- student loans or
Moreover, from the
tuition reimbursement can benefit all undergraduate, graduate and residency
program students with high academic progress and studying full-time in one of
21 universities included in the list approved by the Government.
is not eligible for students from universities that are not included in the list
approved by the Government and those enrolled in distance learning system. Other
students that are not benefiting from tuition reimbursement shall get support
in the form of student loans.
The main issues raised
during the study of the complaints addressed to the Human Rights Defender
regarding the 14th anti-crisis economic action are the following:
students with high academic progress are not getting tuition reimbursement
in connection with the differentiation of higher education institutions;
tuition reimbursement is not granted to the students with
high academic progress studying in the universities included in the list
approved by the Government due to the reason that they were enrolled in a
distance learning system;
the impossibility of getting a student loan due to the bad credit history of
the student or his/her family member.
In one of the cases, a
full-time student at the European University informed the Human Rights Defender
that he had high academic progress (91% GPA) and expressed his dissatisfaction
to the Defender that he could not benefit from the tuition reimbursement because
the educational institution was not included in the list of universities
defined by the Government.
another case, a citizen applied to the Human Rights Defender informing, that he
was studying in distance learning system at the Yerevan State University (the university
is included in the list of universities approved by the Government) with high
academic progress (with GPA of more than 90%), however he could not benefit
from the tuition reimbursement because of studying in the distance learning
were addressed to the Human Rights Defender from the students, that banks did
not provide them with student loans due to the bad credit history of their
family, as a result of which they were unable to benefit from the 14th
action at all.
example, a 5th year student studying in distance learning
system in one of the higher educational institutions in the Republic of Armenia
applied to the Human Rights Defender informing, that in addition to not being
able to benefit tuition reimbursement opportunity under the 14th action,
he was also unable to get a student loan due to the bad credit history of his
another complaint, a 3rd year student of the State Medical
University after Mkhitar Heratsi was denied a student loan by the banks due to
the bad credit history of his parents.
complaints addressed to the Human Rights Defender from the
students refer to the fact, that, according to them, the Government’s
distinctions lack sufficient justification, as well as the Government did not
take into account those students whose families had financial difficulties due
to the spread of the new coronavirus, including those who worked and studied at
the same time.
According to the
complaints, the Government considered the university and educational system as
criteria, instead of providing assistance in a form of compensation.
The Human Rights
Defender welcomes the fact of providing support to students as a part of
anti-crisis actions aimed at minimizing the impact of COVID-19.
At the same time, it
is necessary to clarify why other criteria or conditions were not taken into
account except of having high academic progress when providing assistance to
students within anti-crisis actions during the State of Emergency.
This refers to the
financial difficulties of students, their families, the risks of not providing
loans by banks, etc.
A corresponding letter
was sent to the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports on all the issues