we share a building with Hrant Dink Foundation, we often come across
with the people who are attending Armenian courses offered by the
foundation. Teachers Nareg, Sarin and Sevan often talk about how
diligent their students are. Most of the attendees are researchers
studying various topics. Each of them has different reasons for
learning Armenian. Since the universities recalled academic staff
after the coup attempt on June 15, some of them are following the
courses via “Skype”.
When I see these people, I remember Prof. Zekiyan's intensive Armenian courses that he has been offering in Venice University for more than 20 years. One of my friends attended these courses, which are planned as 3-week terms, and now, he is translating Hagop Baronyan's plays. Another friend of mine published a guide for learning Armenian for Turkish speakers, which is one of the best examples of such textbooks.
And there is the other side of the coin. On this side, there are people who have been taking Armenian courses from elementary school to the end of high school and cannot read Hagop Baronyan; I mean, they cannot understand what they read. Desiring or denying knowledge lies at the heart of this grave contradiction.
On the one hand, there are teachers who have nothing to do with Armenian culture and literature, or literature in general and on the other hand, there are students who have been avoiding this language like the plague. In Turkey, there is no academic institution, where people study Armenian language and literature. And particular people who studied Armenian language and literature abroad are suspended with the arbitrary decisions of imprudent administrators.
And parents have a major role in students' resistance against learning Armenian. First of all, the parents are not happy with the education in Armenian, though they are sending their children to Armenian schools. As a result of their pressure, science, mathematics, chemistry, geometry and biology courses in Armenian became an exception. Moreover, Armenian language courses are excluded from the curriculum because of high school entrance exams and students pass those courses with show-exams.
Many times, we witnessed parents admonishingly saying, “Will the question of the university entrance exam be in Armenian?”
Of course, there is no such a problem concerning the schools in which education is offered in English, French or German.
The function of Armenian schools in Turkey should be measured by their graduates' level of comprehension of Armenian language. However, due to alienation and degeneration, this function is reduced to performance in high school and university entrance exams.
The only way for preserving the function of schools is to show the door to the ones who started a fight against Armenian language.