16-year-old Vazgen Hovhannisyan has not rushed home after school for 3 years, not far from Yerevan, in Aygek village, after classes, but in one of the school classrooms, where he learns to program computer games and robots.
He has participated in many competitions and won prizes for presenting the best computer programs. He says that before that he was engaged in boxing, he was not even interested in the world of robots.
“I was always told to participate in the groups, I did not want to. But I tried to participate once. I said, if they say so much, then there is something else. “I participated and it came out a lot from the very first day,” he says.
Vazgen likes to create programs for himself that others can use. Friends often call to the yard to play, but do not have time ․ “Sometimes my friends say that I do not communicate with them much because I spend more time in front of the computer. “Now my friends are playing all the games I made.”
Three years ago, with the initiative and funding of several large Armenian companies, engineering laboratories were established in 80 schools in Armenia, including Aygek. They were equipped with computers, 3D printers and the necessary equipment for robotics. 11-18 year old children of the school study programming in those groups.
Aygek school graduate Shushan Grigoryan is in charge of the laboratory. After receiving the profession of radiophysicist, he became interested in the field of robotics and returned to the village to pass on his skills to children.
“Engineering is not only programming and technology. It is the atmosphere, the way of thinking that exists. “And most of all, I use my own way of thinking, the fact of making my own decisions, taking responsibility for it,” says Grigoryan.
Today, the young programmer who has achieved great things in the field does not think about leaving Armenia, especially his native village.
“IT is the field that does not matter where in the world you are. If you are connected to the Internet, it means that you are in the center of the world. And this is the best field that you can start a company without leaving your village, without leaving your native village you can earn as much money as you would earn, say, in Yerevan or outside Armenia, ”he says.
Moreover, the main part of the devices, machines and parts are Armenian, created by companies operating in Armenia. In the laboratory, when there is a lack of parts during robotics, children model those parts in 3D on their own and print them with 3D printers.
“Today the children are not playing games, but are already programming games. This means that their way of thinking starts from the consumer to become a producer. And they are not only consumers of Chinese or American goods, but also producers of Armenian goods. “And that is already changing the psychology,” he says.
The 25 participants of the groups have already decided. they will not be engaged in agriculture like their parents, but will become programmers.
This Aygek computer lab is one of the initiatives started in Armenia in the field of high technologies since 2008. Specialists in Armenia, which has a high level of unemployment, are hopeful that in the near future the sector will be one of the main directions of the country’s economic development. According to official data, if in 2015 the economic growth in Armenia was 3%, then in the field of high technologies every year that growth is 22% on average. Today about 15 thousand people are employed in the sphere.