The Importance of Civic Education: Students Present Projects & Results

At the presentation held in Tbilisi’s Public School N186 on Wednesday, students presented their projects realized within the school’s civics club Delta, attended by representatives of the PH International Georgia office, and Laura B. Berger, USAID Georgia’s Democracy, Governance and Social Development Office Deputy Director, who, after being introduced to the students projects, answered their questions about the importance of civics education, sharing with them the existing practices, examples and experiences of civic participation of youth in the US.

The event was part of PH International Georgia’s ‘Future Generation’ (Momavlis Taoba) program, operating with the financial assistance of USAID and implemented in collaboration with the Center for Training and Consultancy, Civics Teachers’ Forum, a number of regional partner NGOs, and the Ministry of Education of Georgia. The program aims to promote the concept of civics education in the country, which is now being implemented in school curricula nationwide. The goal is to strengthen and achieve greater civic engagement among Georgian youth and enhance the role of civic society as a whole.

GEORGIA TODAY had a chance to see the variety of projects students of public school N186 had created in their Delta Club within the Future Generation program, witnessing firsthand their involvement, motivation and enthusiasm while advocating for issues from environment protection to anti bullying, defending pedestrian rights, or helping the elderly, proving how successful civic education can be, and above all, how important it is to engage more young people in it.

“The project I’m introducing is ‘Safe Road to Pedestrians’ which we implemented to address road safety rules,” Nino Kevkhishvili and Irakli Managadze, members of Delta civics club told us. “We contacted the city municipality and now we have zebra crossings near the school and children are able to cross the road safely.”

“Civic education helps us to become more active and engaged, as citizens who are well informed and able to make the right choices,” Irakli added. “One of our projects is about bullying, called ‘Treat others as you want to be treated yourself’ with which we tried to explain to the students what bullying means, and how they should act if they are witnessing it. We’ve worked on anti-bullying and bullying prevention regulations, and the school psychologist did a talk on the nature of bullying. Although it’s a large and rather complicated subject, we managed to raise awareness about it,” Irakli said.

“Children should be engaged in civic education from an early age at school and in that case they will be more aware of the problems society is facing and will try to seek ways to solve them,” Nino added.

Students also presented an eco project on the environment which focused on taking care of the plants in the Digomi area, followed by several competitions on recycling possibilities, and advocating environmental issues. Students participated in a Model UN program which gave them a chance to discuss the environmental problems of their respective countries: Georgia, Ukraine, Kenya, Brazil and Japan.

Within the anti-bullying project, almost 400 students from different schools in Tbilisi participated in a survey, and the results showed that many of the students had either experienced or witnessed bullying and that a number of them were unaware what bullying implied. It was noted during the meeting that the research conducted by the students is currently regarded as the largest initiated by youth so far in Georgia.

‘Happy New Year to Everyone,’ was a project aimed at helping homeless elderly and children, through which students did fundraising, organizing an exhibition of paintings and then selling them for a symbolic price. The money was then used to help homeless youth and elderly. Students from N186 public school in Tbilisi also helped elderly living in a shelter, bringing them food, clothing and gifts.

“I think civic education is important because it helps students understand where they fit in a democracy and he power they have as citizens within that democracy” said Laura B. Berger. “These types of activities not only teach students through a book the type of power they have in their communities, but also through projects where they can get out and make a difference, changing the way they think about their role in society, what they can be when they grow up and the power they have as individuals within their country,” she added, noting the maturity the students had shown in their understanding of the things happening in their communities and the amount of research they had carried out.

“All the projects we’ve seen here today address extremely critical issues within our society. I think that many of the problems, such as bullying at schools, can not be solved without students themselves being actively engaged in solving them, and today’s meeting was very important in that regard,” Marina Ushveridze, Chief of Party, Momavlis Taoba program. told us as the event came to end.

Nino Gugunishvili

07 December 2017 19:19