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Georgia’s Gov’t Launches Education System Reform

The Government of Georgia has announced details of its education system reform plans, one of the components of the governmental Four-Point Plan, which refers to new tax benefits, infrastructure plans, governance reforms and an overhaul of the education system.

The Minister of Education and Science of Georgia, Alexander Jejelava, presented the primary directions of the reforms to the Prime Minister, government officials, diplomatic corps, as well as to international and non-governmental organizations.

The Minister said that the reform would include all directions of education: general, vocational, higher education and science.

He underlined that in order to achieve the goals set for vocational and higher education, schools needed to be interesting and modern. “The Ministry of Education needs to increase the quality of education and develop critical and independent thinking amongst our youth. Free lessons will serve that purpose.”

“The textbooks and educational programs will be updated and revised. We will integrate modern technologies into the educational process. In order to bring up a healthy and harmonious youth, it is also important to have more sports and art activities at schools,” he added.

Moreover, Jejelava pointed out that nowadays the professions obtained in the vocational colleges were the most-in demand by employers. He said the vocational colleges would offer a variety of programs (including dual vocational education), training and retraining with full state funding, to citizens of all ages.

“A large portion of the work-based learning, dual education, will be based on enterprises, where the students will be able to work simultaneously with study. Potential employers are also to be involved in the process, in conjunction with setting a minimum wage,” the Minister stated.

Jejelava claimed that there are 37 vocational institutions and 10 service centers functioning in Georgia. In 2017, two service centers are scheduled to open in Khobi and Stepantsminda.

“In order to better link education and the Georgian economy, the government will offer higher education to students, oriented towards employment and country development.”

He also stated that universities would prepare specialists in-demand in the fields of: entrepreneurship, construction, business, agriculture, politics, civic sector, sports, arts, and science. Additionally, the government is to fund the priority professions, those in-demand by employers. The best Georgian students will receive international diplomas.

Furthermore, Jejelava is confident that Georgia can become the topmost center for education, research and science in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and the CIS.

“The new Kutaisi Technology University project, ‘Study in Georgia,’ will serve exactly this purpose. Within the scope of this project, English speaking international programs will be implemented to attract foreign students, and more Georgian students will have the capability to participate in exchange programs,” he said, adding that the commercialization of science would happen and young Georgian scientists/innovators would have the opportunity to pitch their ideas commercially.

“This approach will encourage those Georgian scientists working abroad to return home. As a result, all the above will help economic development in Georgia,” he concluded.

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili also delivered a speech at the presentation of the reform, reiterating that education was a top priority for the government.

The PM underlined that the reform would see education in Georgia being based on advanced technologies, with access to superior quality education increased in rural areas of the country, the professional development of teachers, and healthy lifestyles made priorities.

"Georgia will transform into a regional hub of science, research and education. We have all the resources and potential to make it happen,” the PM said.

Thea Morrison

29 December 2016 19:15