POLITICS
Innovative Reforms to Increase Education Quality in Georgia
01 April, 2017
From Aleksandre Jejelava’s Article published in The Economist’s World 2017 Georgian edition
The four stage reform plan initiated by the Government of Georgia foresees education as one of its top priorities, meaning revolutionary changes to be applied in the secondary, higher, science and professional education spheres. The reforms to be realized by the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia are set within both short and long term perspectives and aim for the professional self-realization of individuals, notwithstanding their age,
nationality or religion.

The short term perspective changes planned by the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia are ongoing, and we think that by the end of 2017, as a result of improving services, the motivation of both teachers and students will be up. There will be free lessons in schools, oriented towards developing analytical, critical, logical and creative thinking in students. At the same time, educational services for individuals left behind in schools will be set. School management will be improved, work related study programs will be taught in professional colleges, the number of foreign students willing to acquire an education in Georgia will rise, the work of research institutions will be better and all this I just the tip of the iceberg of our planned reforms.

In terms of general education, school programs will be aligned to the contemporary sciences, based on the age development of school children and their abilities. That’s why the first stages of school education will be based on the learning through play principle. The now existing subject programs at the basic and middle levels will get easier, with schools giving enough education to students to enable them to enter higher education institutions without the help of private tutors. To achieve that goal, school text books will be improved both in terms of their content and technicality, new resources will be used, as will electronic text books.

With the diverse non-class programs and activities, school life will become much more interesting. Through implementing free lessons, distance learning and other methods, schools will have more possibilities to use more alternative approaches, whereas teachers will have more room for their professional self- realization.
Schools will be divided in accordance to their conditions and needs into small and leading categories. Programs to support private schools will also be launched.

As to secondary education, the government takes the responsibility to make sports activities popular among young children as the best possibility for them to be acquainted with team-playing principles, and in acquiring skills for healthy living. Schools will regularly hold sports competitions, and phys-ed teachers will be retrained. At the same time, school children will have a chance to express their talents in different art forms through art lessons.

Due to cultural specifics and history, every country has its own literary heroes loved by children and which play a crucial role in their development, their way of thinking and vision. Unfortunately, after the demise of the Soviet Union, there were no new heroes added to Georgian children’s resources. It is vital for modern children and teens to have new heroes whose patriotism, friendship, diligence and loyalty will be replicated by them. In this form, attention will be paid to the skills that are important for the development of a system of values in children from a very early age.

There are also significant novelties planned in the higher education sphere. An effective system of financing, oriented on the quality of education, will be set. The State will again finance those priority professions in high demand from employers. Specialists needed in the manufacturing, production, construction, business, agriculture, politics, civil, sports, arts and culture, and academic and science spheres will be trained. Successful students will be given a chance to study at the world’s leading universities with state financing, although getting higher education in Georgian and English languages will be available in Georgia.

It’s our ambition to make Georgia a leader in education in the Eastern European and CIS countries. By 2020, Georgia expects to have the status of Regional Center for Higher Education. With consultations held between state organizations, a package of legislative changes will be carried out enabling foreign citizens to obtain student visas and other necessary documentation in Georgia through a simplified procedure. An internet portal will be launched with all necessary information available for students who intend to come to our country to study. Foreign students will have a chance to study 1+4 BA programs in the Georgian language. Those who express their willingness to study in Georgia will receive stipends.

After the revolutionary dual education implementation, there will be more reforms carried out in the professional education sphere. Apart from professional colleges in the regions, new programs complying with employment market needs will be launched. The list of professions will become more diverse and the same goes for innovative approaches.

The different study programs in colleges will be tailored to the needs of individuals of all age groups, offering students a chance to continue secondary or higher education while studying at college simultaneously. There will be a change in legislation: within professional education, a student will be able to obtain a full cycle general education with the possibility to enter a higher educational institution upon finishing professional college.

In terms of science, our mission is to generate new intellectual product that will develop the areas necessary for the country’s economic growth. Cooperation with leading international science and research institutions, foundations and organizations will continue and deepen. Every professor and scientist will have access to modern science-electronic bases and, in order to improve the quality of education, scientific research will be integrated into the educational process. Science-research institutions and scientists will have access to science infrastructure, bringing them new possibilities of scientific development. More Georgian scientists and professors will participate in exchange programs. Programs to support young Georgian scientists and those working abroad will be launched. A united scientific - informational system will be created where all the works from scientists and professors, their researches and achievements, will be stored.

University and scientific projects will be financed. Collaboration with Horizon 2020 and different international foundations will deepen and continue. Young inventors and scientists will have an opportunity to present their discoveries in commercially interesting proposals. As I mentioned, these are just few of the plans. In order to make the Georgian language accessible for national minorities and foreigners, electronic study methods are to be implemented. The Ministry of Education and Science offers Georgian language courses in a non-stop regime for anyone interested, fully financed by the State, while, for the raising of awareness on the Abkhaz culture, educational resources are to be prepared and offered.

Together with international partners, a world class electronic study platform will be launched and implemented at every stage of education. School children and university students will have access to high level education resources, virtual laboratories, video lectures by distinguished teachers and professors, to the programs of foreign language learning, and more.

Mobile phones, computers, virtual and mixed reality will be used for electronic education, which will help to deepen knowledge in each subject and an increase of interest towards learning overall.

Nino Gugunishvili

Source: Georgia Today
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