Dozens of students from different departments across the Yerevan State University walked out of classes on Tuesday to stage a protest, venting their frustration over the new bill that abolishes the temporary exemptions from compulsory military service for graduate and undergraduate students, studying at the country’s state universities.
The protestors gathered in front of the main building of the University calling on the professors to join the strike and demanding the government to reconsider the bill provisions.
To note, the new amendments into the Armenian law “On Military Duty and Military Service” was initiated by the defense ministry and was adopted in the first reading by the parliament days ago. According to the proposed legislation, citizens liable for call-up are conscripted to army for compulsory service, while draft deferments are granted to only those students who would agree to undergo parallel military training and serve in the army as officers for three years after graduation.
Critics of the legislation point to the adverse impact of the new law on the education and science, suggesting the abolishment of conscription deferments will prevent prospective students from professional, scientific or educational activities. Meanwhile, the proponents of the law insist the deferments are a violation of social justice. Additionally, canceling all exemptions for compulsory service would minimize corruption risks in the military and educations spheres in cases when eligible citizens would wish to avoid the army.