The First Schools for Girls in the Armenia

The first schools for girls in the Armenian reality are the Hripsimiantz school of Smyrna   (Hṛip’simyeants’ varzharan, 1840), Yerevan’s Hripsimiantz school (Hṛip’simyants’ dprots’, 1850), but these schools began to multiply from the middle of the 19th century. The Armenian writer Perch Proshyan was especially noteworthy in this work, who once said: “I can not live without the schools for girls”. In 1861, Proshyan founded the Gayanyan school (Gayanyan ōriordats’ dprots’), then in Shushi, in Yerevan, in Agulis[1]. In 1866, Gayanyan school for girls was founded in Yerevan, and on February 1, 1872, by the order of the Armenian Catholicos the Hripsimiantz School for girls was open in Vagharshapat village. In the 1870’s, schools were beginning to spread throughout the Armenian-populated areas. At the time, however, two directions were outlined: one side highlighted only the issue of women’s education, and the other was underlining the issue of women’s public involvement and their introduction to social life.

 

Armenian Bishop Yeremia Tevkants (Yeremia Tevkants’, 1829-1885) urged to open an Armenian women’s school in Karin (Erzrum) in the late 1860s. He, addressing women, says, “Woe to the woman that is beautiful on the outside, but is not wise, woe to the city and to the nation, whose women and the ladies are outwardly decorated, inwardly dark.” Tevkants tries to underline the importance of opening a female school, quoting the Armenian historians and the Bible: “One should not only look at the beauty of the maidens and be attracted by it, praise the beautiful eyes, it is better to have an ugly face, but not an ugly heart and mind.” The Armenian bishop calls on women to donate their silver and gold jewelry to the opening of schools and to raise their daughters wisely because wisdom is more than gold and silver and all precious stones. Armenian women of Erzurum collect and give 30,000 monets (dahekan), thus the School for girls in Karin opens.[2]

 

 

[1]See Harutyunyan, Anahit, Century of Outstanding Women, Armenian women’s social activities at 19th and 20th the beginning of centuries, Yerevan 2005, p. 23.

[2] See Yeremia Tevkants’, “Tohmayin hishatakaran, Girk’ 8, (Colophon of the family, Book 8″),  pp. 47b- 49b. The book is not published, it will be published in 2018. I would like to thank Hakob Muradyan for providing this unpublished material.