We can’t take offence at our homeland or get despondent. Neither can we preserve our homeland by coming to Armenia once a year from the Diaspora and travelling around the country for a few days: Torgom Ter-Mkrtchyan's interview to Genesis Armenia.

"How can we win the war?  With a humiliated teacher or with a student that doesn't value the importance of education and detests school."

 

"Utter indifference towards our own territory annihilates us."

"We should be alarmed after the war which will wake us up and propel us into action. We should also be caring even by bending over backwards."

 

"We can make Armenia the most enviable country in the world. We should only have a wish and we should act instead of talking."

 

"Teaching is a creative job," says Torgom Ter-Mkrtchayn, an educator and an English language specialist, who has joined the professional community of Genesis Armenia and is teaching English (TOEFL) to the young people from Martuni, Artsakh for free.

And then he adds, "But it's very important that you meet a person who will teach you the art of it. A teacher should spot the student's potential, work with his/her soul, discover his/her talent and direct it towards serving his homeland. And then, we'll succeed and win."

The educator has joined Genesis Armenia to fight off the challenges through and due to education.

Why Genesis Armenia?

In 2019, I came to Armenia and was very hopeful that I would find an organization (I had State Institutions in mind, of course) which would like to use the potential from the Diaspora for the benefit of Armenia. Unfortunately, it was to no avail. It transpired that we aren't in need of potential. In the wake of the war, Genesis Armenia was created, which was really in keeping with my ideas and was exactly what I was looking for.

Many people think that their support for their homeland should come in the form of a parcel or money. Whereas, you can't teach a person to live when you only give him fish. You should, first, teach him to catch the fish. We should change that noxious way of thinking which has brought our nation into this condition. People in Genesis Armenia have a clear understanding of this, that's why it is a great honor for me to join exactly this movement. My aim is to improve life through education. If education does not improve an individual’s life, then the lives of those surrounding him/her, and as a result, the living standards in their homeland, then the diplomas and titles that are conferred on him/her are hollow. As a teacher, I say that education has a significant role. And we should start with education. People in Genesis Armenia understand it, so I feel that I can be useful here. I can help the children of Artsakh achieve a result and I am ready for that. This is how every Armenian in any corner of the world should think. The country, in which people don't mutually care for each other, falls apart. Now our country is being led to it, so we should oppose these disastrous aspirations.

What are our greatest mistakes in this field?

The role of education has always been neglected and often wantonly downplayed: I don't know why, teachers are always overlooked and do not receive the credit they deserve. In border villages, instead of thinking about the ways to foster love towards school, people close down schools or merge them. By downplaying the role of education, everything is done to make the child think from an early age that he/she will never be able to solve a single problem with education. How can this child have a wish to study after this? Of course not. Education and education system are philosophy. Every segment of it is important. When teacher becomes an authority figure, students will learn from him/her everything, from the way of dressing to knowledge and taste - a teacher should set an example. When the teacher's profession becomes the most coveted one for its salary, role and reputation, then we will have no problem about building a great country.

 

At the core of this is:

Solely indifference lies at the core of this. I assure you that the majority of our problems come from indifference. People in Yerevan are not bothered by the fact that in regional schools a subject is taught by someone who has no idea of that subject. Entering a classroom, a teacher mustn't talk about something which he/she not only doesn't believe but also has no idea of. Not to mention the fact that there are schools where fully-fledged subjects are removed from the curriculum because there is no teacher to teach them. I work in the field of education abroad, meet specialists from different countries and am almost sure that in no other country the role of education is as downplayed as it is in Armenia. Unfortunately, this is not an exaggeration, but the reality in which we all live.

We won’t win a war with this, how can we win? With a humiliated teacher or with a student that doesn't value the importance of education and detests school?

Churchill used to say: "Prime Ministers would dream of enjoying the reputation that teachers do.” We should live in a country that adopts such ideologies. Then we won’t be defeated, believe me.

Are there any hopes of living in a knowledge-based society?

Yes, there are. And do you know why? Because as a teacher I have made sure that there are still buds in this generation who will surpass me. Due to Genesis Armenia, I'm preparing children of Artsakh for English exams, we’re studying with Cambridge textbooks, where Turkey is often mentioned as an example. While doing translations, children replace the word "Turkey" with "Armenia" without me saying a word. Right at that time it dawned on me that they are cleverer than me and they will surpass me. And this is the proof that we will succeed or win. Teacher should be happy to see his pupils or students surpass him and shouldn't compete with them or quite the reverse, humiliate them. When you see that your student has surpassed you, you should know that you have your first win.

In what kind of Armenia will we be living in 5 years if we have now sunk into the depths of despair?

Homeland is not just a territory, it is energy. We can’t take offence at our homeland or get despondent. Neither can we preserve our homeland by coming to Armenia once a year from the Diaspora and travelling around the country for a few days. We should take care of our homeland in order to preserve it and to have a place where we can come and travel.

If the enemy has entered Syunik and we are still quietly having our cup of coffee in Yerevan, then tomorrow the residents of Komitas will not be perturbed while the enemy is in Noragavit. And this is not a grotesque, this is what we wouldn't even see in the worst nightmare 4 years ago, but now it's our reality. Utter indifference towards our own territory annihilates us. There are 10 million Armenians, and isn't one percent of us concerned about the perishing Armenia?

We should just have a desire. I understand that we have been cast down and disheartened in our own country for decades but is our homeland to blame for that?

We can make Armenia the most enviable country in the world. We should only have a wish and we should act instead of talking. We should be alarmed after the war which will wake us up and propel us into action. We should also be caring even by bending over backwards.

 Independence is an absolute value, and only by knowing its price, will we be able to preserve it and succeed. At that time we'll be able to both preserve what's ours and will have the right to promote our interests in the world.

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