Restructuring Schools in Armenian Neighborhoods: Does Social Capital Matter?

Public schools in Yerevan face serious problems of restructuring. Most of the schools have not been renovated since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Does economic well-being affect the level of social capital in the neighborhood? Are the neighborhoods with higher social capital more likely to be willing to participate in school renovations? The answer depends not only on public cooperation, but also on socio-economic well-being. Armine Asryan together with her partner Anush Davtian investigated social capital in four neighborhoods of Yerevan.

According to the researchers, income positively determines the level of social capital — the higher the income, the higher the social capital; and there is a further relationship between social capital and school renovation — the higher the social capital, the more likely it is that the community will take part in school renovation. Armine characterized the communities as having low bridging and high bonding capital, which indicate low civic participation apathy and extreme individualism among those four communities.

The researchers developed policy recommendations such as enhancing the transparency of school boards. The data show that most of the respondents who expressed their willingness to support school restructuring affirm that they donate money through school boards. Therefore, clear and continuous reports on the management of the funds will enhance parents’ participation in school renovation projects.

The paper is posted on the CRRC-Armenia website. Please let us know what you think.