On May 31, the revenues and expenditures of the relevant part of the report on the state budget 2022 execution of the Republic of Armenia were debated at the joint sitting of the NA Standing Committees on Science, Education, Culture, Diaspora, Youth and Sport and on Financial-Credit and Budgetary Affairs. The sitting was chaired by the Chairs of the Committees Sisak Gabrielyan and Gevorg Papoyan.
The RA Deputy Minister of Finance Vahan Sirunyan stated that in 2022 the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports implemented 21 programmes with 205 measures. 179 events were planned in advance. The annual plan was 226 billion 801 million drams, and the actual performance of the originally planned budget was 202 billion 606 million drams. Redistributions and changes were made during the year. The adjusted budget was 208 billion 146 million drams. Performance against the adjusted budget was 97.3%. Compared to the previous year, the budget expenditures in the sector increased by 15.9% or about 27 billion 796 million drams.
The Chair of the NA Standing Committee on Financial-Credit and Budgetary Affairs Gevorg Papoyan asked the Deputy Minister how many percent of the performance was compared to the initially planned. The Chair of the Committee also inquired about the performance of school construction.
The Deputy Minister clarified that overall performance compared to the initially planned was 89.3%. Gevorg Papoyan inquired about the performance of current expenditures, in response to which the Deputy Minister noted that the performance of current expenses was 97.3%. According to the Deputy Minister, it is necessary to understand what the reason for the underperformance of capital expenditures is. He found it difficult to give reasons.
The RA Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports Zhanna Andreasyan presented the implemented programmes, noted that about 75% of the funds were allocated to the education sector. Decisions have been made regarding 107 institutions, which concern more than 30.000 children. The works carried out in the direction of opening science laboratories in schools have been highlighted. The process of introducing laboratories in the schools of Tavush region has been completed, this year similar works will be carried out in Armavir region, these works are also planned in other regions through the budget process.
Touching upon the current expenditures, Zhanna Andreasyan emphasized the programmes aimed at teachers’ remuneration, in particular, the process of voluntary certification of teachers, within the scope of which 1565 teachers or 5.5% of the beneficiary teachers are paid at an already increased rate and surcharge as a result of voluntary certification.
Important reforms have been made in the field of preschool education: mandatory training of pedagogues and certification processes of persons wishing to become headmasters were carried out. Works were also done in the field of primary, secondary professional and higher education. Zhanna Andreasyan mentioned that there is a plan to increase salaries of scientists. 86 grant programmes were financed. Substantial amounts have been allocated for supplementing and updating the research capacities of scientific organizations.
A number of programnes were implemented in the field of culture, festivals were held. A number of theaters and institutions have had the opportunity to improve their infrastructure, resulting in an increase in their own income.
The Chair of the Standing Committee on Financial-Credit and Budgetary Affairs Gevorg Papoyan inquired about the certain results of the implementation of a number of programmes and underscored that those responsible for capital expenditures made 67% of capital expenditures, but received 100% of salaries and premiums.
Zhanna Andreasyan agreed that there is a problem of development and application of approach methodology, in which direction work is being carried out. According to her, there is a lot to be done in the process of reforms in the field of public administration.
The Chair of the Standing Committee on Science, Education, Culture, Diaspora, Youth and Sport Sisak Gabrielyan suggested visiting several scientific research institutes with Gevorg Papoyan in the coming days to get acquainted with the works being done.
Sisak Gabrielyan opined that there is a gap compared to other sectors: in case of scientists, 83% were certified. “Do we have a scientist who has been certified, receives a high amount of money, but does not engage in science?” the Chair of the Committee asked.
Sargis Hayotsyan noted that, yes, there are unemployed scientists. He informed that higher requirements for the certification of 2026 will be set this year, and people will be given time to express themselves until 2026.
Sisak Gabrielyan also touched upon the new model of financing theaters, actors’ payment mechanisms, the revision of the incentives in the sports sector, the certification process of the teachers and other issues.
The MPs Artur Khachatryan, Lilit Galstyan, Hakob Aslanyan, Armenuhi Kyureghyan and Edgar Hakobyan inquired about teaching the history of the Armenian Church in schools, the decline in the number of applicants in universities, the processes of teacher certification, the overhaul of schools and kindergartens, the programmes against drug addiction in schools, the targeted use of budget expenditures and other issues.