Twenty-nine schools in Artsakh’s Martuni region recently received portable science laboratory kits through the Tufenkian Foundation’s “Tufenkian for Martuni’s Schools” program.
The Mini Lab 7 (ML7) kits, which are designed and built by Aleksandr and Tigran Yesayan, the grandson and great-grandson of famed Armenian writer Zabel Yessayan, were generously donated by Judith Saryan and Victor Zarougian of Massachusetts. Thirty-three kits in total were donated to the schools.
“We visited Aleksandr’s laboratory at Yerevan State University (YSU) back in 2019. He and Tigran showed us the lab kits that they had developed for classrooms because only a handful of schools have lab equipment in Armenia,” explained long-time Tufenkian supporter, Judith Saryan. It was then that Judith and her husband Victor decided to donate several of the kits to schools in Artsakh. “The kits will give students opportunities to use microscopes and experience how experiments are conducted. Experiential learning is extremely important in the sciences and needs to be emphasized in classrooms,” Saryan added.
The Tufenkian Foundation hosted a gathering of the principals of Martuni’s schools at the Martuni Regional Administration building on Sept. 16, to hand over the kits that will be used by seventh-graders across the region. During the event, the Deputy Head of the Martuni Regional Administration Vadim Danielyan thanked the Tufenkian Foundation on behalf of the town’s residents.
According to Manush Vanyan, the principal of Sos’ Hayk Hakobyan Middle School, the kits are a necessary addition to the classroom. “These kits, which were graciously donated to our schools today, were put together with the mandated seventh-grade curriculum in mind and will be put to good use right away,” said Vanyan, who also happens to teach biology at the school. “The labs will help us teach with a more practical, hands-on approach. It’s one thing to learn through a textbook; it’s another thing for the students to look through a microscope and examine the slides themselves,” she added.
Earlier this year, Tigran Yesayan, who is pursuing his Ph.D. at Yerevan State University (YSU), won first place in the AbioNET Startup competition for his ML7 kit. The AbioNET Startup competition was held in cooperation between YSU and the Technical University of Dresden with funding by the Erasmus+ Program of the European Union.
The donation of the ML7 kits is a part of the Tufenkian Foundation’s Martuni Region School program, through which the Foundation is refurbishing and restoring educational institutions, providing learning materials and technology, and retraining teachers across Martuni. “Several schools in the town and villages of Martuni need desperate attention. Through the “Tufenkian for Martuni’s Schools” program, we ensure that future generations learn in a safe, welcoming, and nurturing environment,” explained Tufenkian Foundation operations director, Greg Bedian.