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[8-09.2019-EN] Weekly overview of educational affairs in Georgia (in English)

13/09/2019 – 19/09/2019

EDU.ARIS.GE
For professional use

Pilot edition

 

The Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport Mr. Mikheil Batiashvili at the Tamar King Hall of Tbilisi City Council presented a report to the public on the activities implemented within the framework of the complex education reform at all levels of the system (preschool, general, higher, vocational education, science) and spoke on the future plans. The report focused on the importance of introducing the European education model and quality principles throughout the system, the new school model, security at schools, infrastructure of educational institutions, access to vocational education and its importance, the need to introduce innovative approaches and modern technologies in teaching as well as the change in the teachers remuneration policy and funding model for higher education.

Within the framework of this event, the Festival of Science and Innovation 2019 was officially opened.

Preschool Education

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“In this November a new school readiness program will be introduced in kindergartens. This will be a pilot program “Model Garden”, and starting in May 2020, the plans for certification and remuneration of preschool teachers will be launched. Teachers will undergo training courses at the university level”, – stated Irina Abuladze, Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport.

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About 100 children in Kobuleti, who turned 6 after September 17, were left outside the kindergartens and schools. According to the head of the Kindergartens Association at the Kobuleti City Hall, previously, school readiness groups for children of this age were functioning in schools. This year, schools refused to allocate space for this activity. There is already a shortage of places in kindergartens, and 300 children remained outside preschool institutions. According to the same source, negotiations with the schools are underway.

General Education

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The deadline for registration for the November exams for practitioner teachers and applicants wishing to test their competences expired on September 17. According to the National Assessment and Examinations Center, more than 26,600 applicants have registered. For most applicants, this is the second opportunity since the summer exams.

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In the Education Reform Report, the Minister of Education states that the Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence has been opened up for the Georgian language, but it needs the same development as our students.

It seems that sometimes the teachers and students who “need development” believe this, but this school year the schools are still facing old problems with Internet and service providers are offering more than a thousand schools a “simple” troubleshooting scheme, “twenty computers on the Internet, leave one and then we’ll talk about a fault” (!?).

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EDU.ARIS.GE has found errors in the calculation of credit scores in the teachers’ subject competencies, that has been also confirmed by the National Center for Teacher Professional Development, which has promised the media portal to correct the gaps. We wonder how the center will respond to these gaps when the erroneous results have been already admitted. “Everything will be resolved in favor of the teachers”, they state in the Center, but how will they do it is unclear..

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A school rehabilitated by the Millennium Challenge Account was opened in Martkopi. The school is designed for 500 children. The school with its gym, school hall, laboratories was fully rehabilitated. The Millennium Challenge Corporation delegation attended the opening of the school. Martkopi School is one of 91 schools that the Millennium Challenge Account has completely renovated in Georgia.

Vocational Education

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The results of the competition for college directors are still unknown. However, its deadline in violation of Article 39 of the Law on Vocational Education, was extended from April 8 to July 6 under Order N120 of February 5, 2019. However, the deadline of July 6 for publication of the results of the competition. was not met as well.

The ongoing reform of the vocational education system objectively faces many challenges, so nontransparent processes, subjective barriers raise doubts and distrust towards the system, not to mention the violation of the rights of the contestants.

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“The main objective of the remaining months of this year and of the year 2020 will be to make the vocational education geographically accessible, – states the head of the vocational education department at the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport.

The Ministry plans to expand the area of 40 municipalities covered by colleges and to establish vocational institutions in those schools of remaining municipalities which have unloaded space. In such schools they intend to launch at least one vocational education program.

The concept is interesting and not new. The public is unaware of the results that have come up with similar pilot efforts so far. It is also interesting to see how the state will actually provide such programs with human resources (teachers), quality teaching and learning when the existing vocational education institutions cannot handle this problem.

Higher Education

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In his report on education reform, Mikheil Batiashvili announced that, “The new model of university funding is ready and will be presented to the public in October, some issues are to be clarified. The model will focus on quality, not quantity, – the education minister said. However, no more peculiarities have been provided. How will higher education institutions meet this decision will depend on who will add and what will be added to this model and what risks the new funding rules will create.

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Our society is familiar with the events of presenting the old “product” in a new wrapping. Presentation of Kutaisi Technical University, now under the name of Kutaisi International University falls within this category of events.

According to the updated project, within the framework of cooperation with the Technical University of Munich, Professor Wolfgang Herman will be the Honorary President of the new university and Alexander Tevzadze will be the Rector.

The university will receive its first student stream in September 2020 in three areas: mathematics, computer science and management programs. The study will be in English and the academic programs based on the syllabuses of the University of Munich will be delivered by Georgian and foreign lecturers. Gradually, Kutaisi International University will announce the admission to the new programs as well.

As for the infrastructure, at the first phase 3 education buildings, three student dormitories, professors’ dormitories, a central library and a canteen will be built.

In general, on 153 hectares of the university area, 80 hectares of forest will be maintained and it will be one of the greenest campuses in the world. These are some details of the presentation, along with the fact that the construction of the university is funded by the Cartu Foundation.

Other News

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The information of the State Audit Office of Georgia includes the allocation of funds for the projects financed by the 2019 budget (with 6 months data). Among other projects, education projects are also mentioned. In particular, it turns out that of 20,000,000 GEL allocated for the project “Rehabilitation of Municipal Education Infrastructure in Municipalities”, 0% have been disbursed. Of 131,500,000 GEL allocated for development of educational, scientific, artistic and sports infrastructure – 39% have been disbursed; of 50,000,000 GEL allocated for the construction and rehabilitation of public schools – 12%.

This data makes us to refer to those educational institutions that have failed to start the school year on time and will therefore have to add a working day to Saturday.

The audit service sees the reason of these problems in the informal and non-standardized practice of initial selection of projects.

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On September 19, during one of the experiments with participation of school students that was carried out within the framework of the Festival of Science and Innovation 2019 in Kutaisi an explosion took place and several students were injured. As reported, the injured were immediately provided with medical care and their lives are not in danger.

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