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GEORGIA

The educational system of Georgia was a part of the Soviet educational system possessing all its lacks and advantages. Dramatic political and social changes in the 1990s caused deep reforms in the educational system. The system inherited by Georgia from the former Soviet Union was rather good. The educational standards were sufficiently high and were functioning all over the country. The Soviet government was able to fund education and science according to its political and military needs and did it: education was treated as a cultural value and it was completely free at all stages. Primary and secondary education was mandatory. Well-developed teacher training system, accessibility of education in all parts of the Soviet Empire resulted in universal literacy and knowledge of the basic elements of mathematics and sciences, but like the Soviet economy education became the victim of political system. Indeed, politics and ideology was penetrated in all branches of social and cultural life and, however, it influenced on education as well, especially on social studies. The main tendency of the educational system was more to remember passive information, then its practical application.

The processes of establishing the independent state, new social system, and market economy since the 1990s caused substantial basic changes in the education system. The education system has to provide the realization of mutual interests of an individual, the society, and the state. The program of reforms of the Georgian education system is based on the recommendation of the UN (Education Planning for 2000, UNESCO, Mexico, 26 September, 1990, Recommendation Modules of the UNESCO International Institute for Education Planning and Administration, UNESCO, Paris, 1994). The reform program was discussed and confirmed by the government of Georgia on 19 September 1995.

There are two basic problems in the program of child protection and progress: preservation and development of existing pre-school education institutions, as well as reorganization of boarding schools. Problems appeared in the process of transition to the market economy crucially effected on the both the number of pre-school education institution and the quality of their activity. Actually, the collapse of living standard in Georgia, as well as the decrease of state financing of the institutions, diminishes significantly the number of pre-school institutions: 44.1% of children of the age-group 3 to 5 were involved at the institutions in 1989, while to-day this index is about 20%. It means that the Georgian pre-school institutions can not to carry out their main function – to bring up children and to prepare them for school. These difficulties result also in unemployment of teachers and in the problem of utilization of free buildings of former pre-school institutions. Thus, the objectives of the Ministry of Education to-day is to preserve the existing institutions, to help teachers to improve their skill and provide they by new programs and methodic.

The state network of boarding schools also undergoes qualitative changes. Several programs were created to improve the situation in this sector of education. The programs were supported by the UNISEF, the Liege of Defense of the Georgian Constitution, the Georgian Association of Children, the Palace of Youth, its regional branches and other organizations.

Due to the State Program of Reforms in Education the activity of the Ministry of Education of Georgia is orientated to:

According to the Georgian Constitution elementary education is universal and mandatory. Due to this statement of the Constitution primary, basic and secondary schools are functioning at all towns, villages and settlements. Therefore the demand of population and correspondingly of the Constitution on the accessibility to the elementary education are fulfilled. The interests of the national minorities of Georgia are also taken into account. Russians, Armenians, Azeries and Ossetians have, equal with Georgians, possibility to acquire primary education on mother tang.

Due to scanty budget the main problem of the Ministry of Education is rational usage of the existing institutions and their qualified teachers.

The role of private schools in implementing universal primary education is increasing annually. They are subsided by sponsors and charity organizations, as well as by parents. There were 150 schools of this type in Georgia in 1999.

The second brunch of activity of the system in transition period is to work out a new content and methodology of primary education. New education standards for primary education are recently made ready on the whole. Based on the standards new curricula are originated in the following subjects: native language and literature, mathematics, science, foreign language, and fine art cycle subjects. Accordingly, new handbooks have been written and printed.

The future development of primary education in accordance with the recommendations of the World Bank is to elaborate new education standards for the pupils of grade 1 – 6 in 2000-2003, to work up new criteria for assessment of knowledge level and activity of a school. These goals require writing new handbooks, teacher retraining and other similar measures. By the order of the Minister of education, groups of experts have been formed and these groups are working now for solving the problems.

Practically primary education is accessible for all children in Georgia. But some problems really exist. After the rebellions in Abkhazeti and Ossetia more then 200 000 people became displaced or refugee. Many children from this group have no possibility to attend classes for years. The Ministry of Education and Ministry of Social Defense are now working together to overcome these problems.

Illiteracy among adult population in Georgia is so negligible that no special measures are needed to wipe it out. The same might be said about the differences between the education level of men and women.

"Citizens have the right to free secondary, professional, and tertiary education at state institutes within the framework and by the rules established in law." These words are cited from the Constitution of Georgia. As about secondary education, they mean that primary and basic education is paid for by the state.

The network of education institutions meets the needs of basic education, but the Ministry of Education has to continue work on completion of new standards of basic education, writing new handbooks and methodological literature, teacher retraining in accordance with the needs of the modern technologies. Students of basic education institutions together with those of general education institutions will study new subjects designed for development of independent thinking and practical skill, prepare students to assess correctly their possibilities and choose a profession. History and culture of religion, fine arts, Declaration of Human Rights, ecology, new method of labor training and so on are among those subjects.

The leading principles of the Ministry of Education at any level of education are humanization, democracy, diversity and autonomy of education institutions.

Due to these principles the ministry of Education is going to implement the number of measures, which provide changing of education objectives and renewing of education curricula at the all stages of education. New teaching ideology will be assimilated that provides cardinal changes in the prior tasks of teaching.

A person acquires general education at the second stage of study. This is the so-called basic education. The programs of this stage are mainly unified, though there are possibility for individually orientated study. The opportunity is reflected in the curricula of basic education that consist of invariant (necessary for all students) and variant parts. Students may choose the number of subject taking into account their future interests.

The Ministry of Education is going to work up different variants of curricula, to create new courses and handbooks of diverse structure and trends in the following subjects: foreign languages, management and marketing, economy, ecology, and other fields. These measures will help students to be ready for a conscious activity in condition of market economy.

The Parliament of Georgia has adopted the Law on the Primary Professional Training. According to this law vocational schools of different types have been opened. These institutions help students to acquire general and professional education, as well as to take part into active live.

Main documents defining aims of pre-school and primary education are:

The Board of the Ministry by this Decision approved State Educational Standards for primary, basic and secondary schools.

The Law on Education determines the following levels of secondary education:

Primary education (grades 1 – 4) can be separated from elementary education as a sub-stage. It was the first education stage in the Soviet education system and plays very important role in school life up to-day. So, in further discussions we will limit ourselves by primary education together with pre-school education.

The duration of study at the secondary level was also subjected to changes: it has been prolonged from eleven years to twelve years. Education programs were changed in such manner that in 2003 students will finish twelve years’ secondary schools.

There are many types of schools in Georgia at all three stages of education: primary, secondary, and tertiary. All schools were public schools in the Soviet period and study was free. The duration of the school day is three hours at primary schools, 5-6 hours at secondary schools, and 6-7 hours at higher schools.

The school year lasts from September to June or July. The average class size depends on the location of a secondary school and varies from several pupils in mountain rural schools to 35-40 students in Tbilisi schools. The class size at higher institutions depends on the subject matter being studied and on the type of work (lecture, practical, laboratory, etc.).

The standard at Tbilisi State University is 15 students per teacher; and this number varies in other institutions depending on the profile. At secondary schools there were 808,000 students and 90,200 teachers in 1995 (among these 163,000 pupils and 14,000 teachers in Tbilisi).

Figure 1 presents the structure of the formal education system in Georgia.

Figure 1

Age

25

24

23

22

21

20

19

18

17

16

15

14

1312

11

10

9

8

7

6

5

4

3

2

 

Aspirantura (doctorate)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colleges

 

Vocational

schools

 

 

Higher schools

 

Secondary schools

 

Compulsory schools

Primary schools

 

Kindergartens

 

Nursery-schools


100 %

It should be several words about special schools of Georgia, because their enrolment contains the children of considered age. The public policy for providing special education is to give disabled persons an appropriate general education and, where required, therapeutic training, in special schools devoted to this purpose. There are special syllabuses lesson plans, and teaching methods in these special schools. Special vocational and technical courses are aimed at enabling school-leavers to obtain a profession and employment as well as improving students’ physical and psychological states. In 1996, there were 18 special boarding schools in Tbilisi and other towns and two pre-school institutions for blind children and those with speech defects (combining nursery schools with kindergartens). The number of pupils in the institutions was about 2,00. Table 1 shows the types and number of institutions, (auxiliary institutions are for mentally retarded persons).

Table 1

Special schools


Form of disability No of schools


Blindness 1

Limited eyesight 1

Deafness 2

Limited hearing 1

Cerebral paralysis 1

Curvature of spine 1

Asthma 1

Speech therapy 1

Gastric disease 1

Auxiliary 8


Special schools are paid for by the State but since the early 90s charity organizations have played an important role.

2. Strategy of Education for All and/or Plan of Activity

The Ministry of Education of Georgia and regional authorities under the Ministry treat the following documents as a plan of their activity:

The aims and purposes of improvement of the education system of Georgia and, consequently, of the educational level of the population are determined in the above mentioned documents.

The Ministry of Education is responsible to execute objectives outlined in the documents and it works in close cooperation with the Education and Science Commission of the Parliament of Georgia, as well as with the Ministries of Finances, Economics, Health Protection and others. The process of the education reforms is the subject of intensive attention of the departments of the Ministry of Education and regional authorities under the Ministry. These organizations analyze the results of monitoring and report the results to the governing body of the Ministry. The Ministry of Education makes an annual report to the government on the reforms in education system.

3. Taking Decisions and Administration

The Ministry of Education takes the main decisions on realization of universal-mandatory education. The government must affirm this decision. The Ministry carries out the management and control as well. The Council of the Ministry, the boards of school regions, municipal education councils and the pedagogical councils of education institutions systematically discuss the issues of universal teaching.

Republican and local commission taking care on persons under age, functioning at the government and local administrations, play very important role in realization the program of universal education.

4. Cooperation in Education for All

Primary, basic and secondary schools execute the direct education service in Georgia. Local authorities fund them from their budgets. The central government takes share in financing the schools all over the country with the help of transfers envisaged in the state budget annually for the educational needs of local authorities. Children’s houses and boarding schools are on a state security and they are funded from the state budget.

The Ministry of Education and individual education institutions intensively cooperate in solving education problems with the number of non-state organizations: Open Society - Georgia (the Soros Fund), the Children Federation, and the UN. Organization and financial support of the World Bank should be emphasized especially. This organization funded 22 educational programs in 1996-1998. Preliminary work is recently carrying out to obtain ten years financial investment from the World Bank.

5. Investments in Education for All Made from 1990

Since the period of gaining independence the budget of the Georgian education system crucially diminished. From this time Georgia has suffered a dramatic collapse of industry and agriculture. As a result the gross national product (GNP) in 1995 was less than 25 percent of the 1991 level. The share of education in the GNP fell down from 7 percent in 1991 to less then 1 percent in 1994. This is an unprecedented fact in the world education history. Decreasing of the state expenditure might create prerequisites for collapsing of the Georgian education system, but it was partially compensated by parents. Really, in 1998 private persons (or parents) spent on the whole 182,5 million Lari1 on education that accounts for 2.3 percent of the GNP.

International organizations played a very important role in supporting the intellectual potential of Georgia. UNESCO, the European Council with their special programs, the American Soros Fund, the British Council, the German DAAD and others helped Georgian educational institutions to create satisfactory conditions for study and work. They supported many advanced students, as well as teachers and scholars to continue their educational, their teaching, or their research activities. The budget for education consists of the State Budget and municipal expenditure.

In 1997 the World Bank granted the 22 programs of reforms of the Georgian education system. Three of them have an attitude to the problems of EFA. They are:

They have been partially carried out in 1997-1998 and the expenditure of the programs was 464 thousand Lari. The total attestation of schoolteachers has been carried out in the frame of the programs that allows the government to qualify teachers and make difference in salary according to their qualification. The highest qualification teachers have a pay two times higher then that of the lowest qualification teachers.

Table 2 displays the rise in percent of the salary of Georgian schoolteachers in comparison with their pay in 1995 when the stable national currency Lari has been introduced.

Table 2

Rise of pay of teachers in 1995-1998

May

1996

September 1996

January

1997

August

1997

January

1998

September 1998

20%

100%

15%

20%

10%

10%

Table 3 presents the 1995-1999 budget in national currency. The budget for education consists of the State Budget and municipal expenditure. The central government's share and municipal share of the total education budget are shown here. In 1997 the planned expenditure of the State Budget was maximal and equal to 38 million Lari, which was 7.9 percent of total expenditure and 0.7 percent of the gross national product.

Table 3

The education budget execution in 1995-1998 (Million Lari)

 

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

Central budget for education

Local budget for education

Special funds (local)

Total expenditure for education without special education

Total expenditure for education together with special education

Total local budget

Education

Total expenditure

Education without special education

Education together with special education

Contribution of local education

Contribution of central education

Cross National Product (GNP)

Public current expenditure on education as % of GNP

10.9

25.3

 

36.2

 

36.2

 

91.3

27.7

455.5

7.9

7.9

69.9

30.1

3694.1

 

0.98

21.0

47.4

 

68.4

 

68.4

 

159.4

29.7

809.8

8.4

8.4

69.3

30.7

5724.1

 

1.19

38.3

68.2

6.0

106.5

 

112.5

 

223.7

30.5

985.0

10.8

11.4

64.0

36.0

6798.0

 

1.57

30.4

73.6

7.3

104.0

 

111.3

 

153.3

29.1

1096.4

9.5

10.2

70.8

29.2

7622.0

 

1.36

33.6

88.2

 

121.8

 

121.8

 

256.7

34.4

1029.2

11.8

11.8

72.4

27.6

8633.0

 

1.41



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