“I Have the Honor” State Program offering students AMD 260,000 a month for 3-year service as officers

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According to Hayern Aysor, Spokesman of the Minister of Defense of the Republic of Armenia wrote the following on his Facebook page:

“The Armenian Army is in need of smart and skillful military officers. The alumni of military education institutions are the citizens who have chosen the profession of an officer as a mission and a lifestyle. They start their military careers as cadets and dream of becoming generals, but the large army is in need of many junior officers who will serve in the platoon-company circle. It is even desired that the commanders serving in that circle and having the necessary military education, come from different places and have different kinds of civic professions. They will bring to the armed forces new knowledge and skills that will help them make the service of conscripts more effective.

In reality today, the system of deferments is imperfect and leads to many manifestations of injustice. In Armenia, the admissions exams of universities and the Bachelor’s-Master’s-PhD cycle that is interrupted after work experience around the world has become a process of 9 years of study, after which students rush to defend their dissertations for candidate of sciences and no longer serve in the army.

Moreover, the army is not using the potential of alumni of universities drafted to the army upon conferment of the Bachelor’s Degree effectively. They mainly join the private and sergeants and, in the best case scenario, they are sent to military units and sometimes directly to the military unit where they serve on-duty.

The ideology of the “I Have the Honor” State Program is to link deferment to future military service. Each young person accepted to a state or private accredited university is eligible to apply to participate in this program. If the young person meets several conditions (health condition, psychological test to determine the streak of being a commander, maintenance of minimum threshold of grades during studies), he or she may be engaged in the program and become a potential candidate to receive the title of officer. During studies at a civic university, from the start of the second year to the first semester of the fourth year of studies, the young people take a military training course at Vazgen Sargsyan Military University every Saturday. If the student successfully completes the course and receives a diploma of the civic university, he not only receives a Bachelor’s Degree, but also the title of a lieutenant and is sent to serve in the armed forces for a three-year period. The military service is organized by taking into consideration the civic profession, but in all cases-at the military units of the first degree (frontline). Thus, the citizen having received a higher education is able to serve the homeland at a higher level and becomes an officer (under the relevant living conditions during military service) and receives a competitive salary (at least AMD 260,000 per month). In case of successfully completing service, the student also receives a bonus in the amount of the tuition for his years of study. After completing military service, the tuition for his studies for a Master’s Degree is also reimbursed in case of getting accepted to the Master’s Degree Program.

It is envisaged to offer, under special conditions, the service of an officer to the students having graduated from one of the world’s top ten universities or students having won international Olympiads. They will be offered to serve as officers, but at the military-industrial complex where they will be able to apply their knowledge more effectively. In their case, they will be offered to sign five-year contracts, not three-year contracts.

One of the major outcomes of the program is the formation of a serious reserve for military officers. An army with a large reserve for privates needs to have skillful reserve officers who have completed their military service on the frontline.

Thus, deferment is going from being a way to avoid serving in the army to a way of making military service more effective, and the government will offer a large reimbursement package in exchange.”