I Support Teaching “Chess” at Schools, but We Need to Solve More Important Problems”: Arayik Harutyunyan
The RA Minister of Education and Science, Arayik Harutyunyan, has met with the working team studying the productivity of implementing “Chess” as a discipline in the Khachatur Abovyan Armenian State Pedagogical University. In the meeting, the founding director of Armenia Chess Academy, Smbat Lputyan, representatives of the General Education Department of the Ministry of Education and Science, and experts from the university were present. The purpose of the meeting, as Arayik Harutyunyan noted, is to discuss the problems that are raised during chess lessons and to increase the quality of teaching. Arayik Harutyunyan noted that he is in favor of chess classes, but there are a number of issues raised by parents that must be heard. There are complaints referring to the assessment of subjects and the difficulty of homework.
The research results by the Chess Research Institute of the university was presented to the Minister. The experts had studied the effectiveness of the subject since 2012. A multilateral research has been done on how teaching chess affects a child’s mental, learning, and behavioral abilities. The researchers are certain that chess helps the development of thinking, as well as it contributes to the independence. Teaching chess also has a positive effect on children’s general progress. Research has been done particularly on what kind of progress 2-4 grade students, both those who learned and did not learn chess, have on subjects. The results show that students, who had learned chess have made better progress. Besides, according to the results of the survey show chess to be in the top 3 of the students' favorite subjects. The researchers concluded that the issue lay in how chess was being taught. It was taught to groups as a facultative training. The previous group leaders, who had become teachers later, did not master the teaching techniques and theories of chess. The results of the sample survey conducted among 1278 parents have shown that 70% of the parents think that chess contributes to the development of logic, but some of them are displeased with the subject because of difficult homework that don't help their children. The other complaint has to do with the low marks that have a negative effect on the students. Only 38% of the children are able to solve task assignment independently, while 60% turn to the parents for help, and 29% of the parents have difficulty in helping them. During the survey, the parents presented some suggestions, including teaching the subject starting from grade 3. Only 4 from the survey suggested to remove teaching chess from school.
Other researches are taking place. Teaching chess in the state educational programs have also aroused interest in international and scientific circles.
Summing up the meeting, the founder-director of the Chess Academy, Smbat Lputyan, emphasized that the purpose of introducing the subject was not to prepare chess players, but to help develop critical and logical thinking of students. Taking into account the results of the survey, the Minister proposed to take steps to reform the subject matter.
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