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[9-09.2019-EN] Weekly overview of educational affairs in Georgia (in English)

20/09/2019 – 26/09/2019

EDU.ARIS.GE
For professional use

Pilot edition

 

Preschool Education

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From the 2019-2020 academic year, the educational resource centers will be increased with new employees – preschool specialists. As part of the ongoing education reform, they must ensure coordination between the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport and the kindergartens.

The reform in the part of preschool education provides certification of kindergarten teachers and start of the kindergarten authorization process by 2020. New staff should involve in these processes and take care of the quality of preschool education before these processes are activated.

This novelty has already highlighted a problem in the regions that is related to the overload in functions and responsibilities and a lack of professionalism. Municipal associations have resource teachers whose training has started by the Ministry of Education since the last year. New employees of the Resource Center must, at a minimum, be better professionals than the previous resource teachers in order to perform their functions. It is hardly to believe that the municipalities have the required number of such cadres.

It seems so that talking about the authorization of kindergartens amid reports that children in the village Darcheli kindergarten of Zugdidi Municipality sleep on the floor is a distant and inaccessible perspective.

General Education

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The National Center for Teacher Professional Development has announced the competition for the Best Teachers of 2019 in three nominations: Best History Teacher of 2019,Best Geography Teacher of 2019 and Best Civic Education Teacher of 2019.

Participation in the competition is voluntary and the teacher shall nominate himself/herself. The competition announcement is accompanied by the criteria. Regarding the registration for competition, it started on September 23 and will end on October 7.

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The Georgian budget will spend 95 million GEL to issue bonuses to the retirement-age teachers who have decided to leave schools. The draft amendments have already been submitted to Parliament for consideration. It states that funding of the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports is increasing by 131 million GEL and will total 1,639.5 million GEL. The allocations for preschool and general education programs are increased by 95 million GEL and will total 845 million GEL.

The reason for the increase in the project presented by the Government is just the retirement bonuses for teachers. As to the term of issuing the bonuses, the exact date is not yet known, provided that anyone who has made the decision at the first stage will receive the bonus in October.

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The published order regarding the exams for teachers and jobseekers scheduled for November 2019, sets out the general criteria for assessing exams by subjects. The document states that in addition to knowledge of the subject, applicants will be tested on skills such as critical thinking, practical application of knowledge of the subject, generalization and more; the criteria for test assessment are available for those interested.

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The Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport has almost completed the process of distributing books within the frames of the Program for Provision of Students and Teachers with Textbooks and Guidelines for the 2019-2020 academic year (21,044,433 GEL have been envisaged for this program). However, teachers are not provided necessary aids under this program and they have to take care of guidelines and other resources themselves. Teachers can use only electronic textbooks for free, for preparation of which the state has paid more than 13,000 GEL. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to the internet and electronic resources.

Vocational Education

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The Georgian Government has imposed a 500 GEL fee on the acquiring the right to recognition of non-formal education. It is intended to cover the costs associated with the administrative procedures and monitoring process.

Acquiring the right to recognition of non-formal education means recognizing the results of the study beyond formal education and issuing a relevant document to a person. The process is managed by the National Center for Educational Quality Enhancement.

Higher Education

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The 2020 Unified National Exams will be conducted by a new model, which involves some technical or contextual changes. Entrants will have to wait until the end of the year for the news of examination programs, tests and, most importantly, the final list of subjects to be taken in specific programs, as higher education institutes will have the time until December to change these subjects.

It is already known that entrants (other than those interested in health and art/sport programs) will have to take 3 compulsory subjects. It is also reported that in mathematics the minimum threshold will fall to 20% of the maximum score, instead of the current 25%.

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The State Audit Office of Georgia has published the report on the shortcomings detected in the state procurement tenders announced by the TSU. The report covers the period from 2014 to January 1, 2018, as well as separate purchases of other periods that were considered suspicious.

Among the shortcomings identified there is an inadequate study of market prices, which creates a possibility of price manipulation and, as a result, leads to “irrational spending of public funds”. This regarded the issue of buying cartridges.

The violation is related to the procurement of rehabilitation works of the second building of the University where a non-profit and risk-taking method was used.

The report also mentioned the sum transferred to the rector’s personal account for the purchase of his copyright books under the decision by the head of administration in 2014. “A conflict of interest was revealed in the procurement process as the supplier was both the purchaser and the initiator of the procurement” – claim the auditors.

The TSU has provided its detailed response to the audit report. “The facts produced in the report are incorrectly assessed and require further clarification”, – they state in the response and provide explanations.

Lado Papava, the then rector of the University, responded to the violation referred to in the audit report (regarding the purchase of the copyright books). He called the assessments biased and explained the issue.

The Audit Office has sent the report to the investigating agency, but it is unknown whether the investigation has been launched.

Other News

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On September 20, the Georgian Parliament in the third reading with 85 votes adopted the Code of the Rights of the Child. The Code regulates issues related to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the child.

The Code will be fully effective from July 1, 2020. Prior to this, various state agencies are obliged to develop the necessary legal regulations, projects, technical standards. The Parliament itself is required to elaborate and approve the Code Implementation Action Plan by November 1, 2019.

According to the Code, children under 18 will enjoy free legal aid. All government agencies are committed to providing children with a friendly and adaptable environment where specialized civil servants will render service in the children protection. A child will be separated from the family in exceptional circumstances. Changes will also apply to vulnerable families – the state is obliged to provide financial and other assistance tailored to these families. This is an incomplete list of amendments to the Code. The main thing is to make this code effective, otherwise the mentioned rights will be paper rights only and will not really help the children.

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Georgia has officially become a member of the EURAXESS, the EU interstate research and innovation organization. This opens the way for Georgian scientists and research institutions to get involved in projects of top importance and to get access up to 100 billion US dollars of funding.

[9-09.2019-GE] – საგანმანათლებლო ამბების ყოველკვირეული მიმოხილვა (ქართულად)

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