- Human Resource Management
- public information
In accordance with the instructions of the Prime Minister, the Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia, Mikheil Chkhenkeli presented an anti-crisis plan regarding all areas of education. During the presentation, the Minister addressed the public about the projects implemented by the Ministry in the battle against coronavirus with regards to general, higher and vocational education, in conjunction with discussing the current challenges and concrete solutions.
The introduction of distance learning in Georgian education system has been highly praised by international organizations. In particular, the framework document of the International Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD) on overcoming the challenges posed by Covid-19, named Georgia as one of the best examples in implementing various measures in the field of education. Additionally, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) also praised the measures taken by the Georgian government.
The Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports has offered schools various alternatives of distance learning, including the Microsoft Teams program, the Georgian online learning platform FeedcEdu, and the notorious -TV School. The Minister discussed each of the distance learning methods and noted that with the help of the Ministry's LEPL Education Management Information System (EMIS), 600,000 Microsoft Office 365 user accounts were created for public school students, teachers, and faculty members. Moreover, virtual classrooms were created in Microsoft Teams, where every student at every level can actively engage in the learning process with their peers.
Another important project of distance learning - "TV School” was launched by the Ministry in collaboration with the First Channel, on March 30. According to the Minister, with the implementation of “TV School” the Georgian education system has taken care of the universal access to distance learning. Mikheil Chkhenkeli emphasized, the airtime covers all subjects across all grades (I-XII). TV lessons are conducted by experienced teachers of various subjects. Undoubtedly, the interest of students with special educational needs is also considered in the initial planning of live lessons. Additionally, all transmissions are provided by a gesture translator.
It should be noted that due to the pandemic, the transition to distance learning has made it necessary to make several changes, which the Ministry has successfully implemented.
A new model of student assessment has been introduced, according to which in the 2019-2020 academic year, two mandatory forms of assessment have been defined: developmental and determinant. In the first case, the dynamics of student development, as described by the teacher, assists to improve the overall quality of learning. Whereas, determinant assessment evaluates the student's level of knowledge with appropriate scores. Also, alternative assessment methods have been developed to determine the annual score for the current academic year. Students will also have the opportunity to apply to school administration to raise their annual score in a specific subject.
The deadlines have been extended for those wishing to register for the national, general master and student grant exams. The exact date of the national exams is usually set in June and all security measures will be taken into account.
In September, during the beginning of the new academic year, the main mega-project of Georgian education- Kutaisi International University will start operating. The university will receive the first stream in three specialties, and naturally the number of specialties will increase in the coming future. The project and the original idea of construction this unique university belongs to Mr. Bidzina Ivanishvili. It was Mr. Ivanishvili and his family, who donated EUR 1 billion to see this idea come to life.
Concurrently with general education, in the context of distance learning, important projects have been implemented in the areas of higher and vocational education.
Upon the announcement of the pandemic, higher education institutions received a recommendation from Mikheil Chkhenkeli regarding the shift to distance learning and creating a favorable tuition fee policy for the students.
The Ministry also recommended that universities be guided by the guidelines for e-learning, provided and developed by the European Association of Higher Education Quality Assurance Agencies (ENQA).
As a result, curricula have been modified, teaching methods and assessment systems have been revised. The training courses, which include a practical component and laboratory work, will be conducted in an intensive mode as soon as the pandemic ends.
Students are offered a flexible, individual payment schedule or deferred tuition fees by universities.
As for grants, scholarships, and program funding for the spring semester of the 2019-2020 academic year, the Ministry will ensure smooth transfer procedures.
Additionally, all vocational college administrations are remotely preparing for the fall admissions, in conjunction with developing curricula, and registering for the online authorization through a mechanism specially developed by the National Center for Quality Development.
The admission process to long-term programs will start on May 20, whereas the actual lessons commence on October 12. To maximize the access to vocational education, the Ministry will ensure that the enrollment rules are changed to include young people and/or vulnerable groups. It is planned to offer up to 8,700 places.
At present, 137 programs and 2,500 places are currently authorized for the short-term training program.
In order to improve the quality of distance learning, in addition to the above-mentioned projects, several key projects are underway:
Microsoft Teams was translated into Georgian; e-journal is being integrated into Microsoft Teams, Minecraft Education Edition pilot program is being introduced to schools; Active work continues with publishing houses to make even more certified e-textbooks available for students of both Georgian and non-Georgian students.
The Ministry, in cooperation with various publishing houses, has provided access to certified e-textbooks for students of both Georgian and non-Georgian language schools. Electronic methodology is being actively developed and integrated into the learning process. In cooperation with various educational organizations, the Bank for Complex Digital Assignments is being set up, which will be publicly published on the portal EL.GE.
During the pandemic, the interests of the parents students with special educational needs are also considered. In this regard, the Ministry created a multidisciplinary team composed of 48 psychologists and up to 1,500 special education teachers who will promote distance learning.
Moreover, the beneficiaries are remotely served by the Psychosocial Services Center of the Resource Officer of the Educational Institution. There is a 24-hour hotline and a Skype account. Students, their parents, teachers, and school administration staff can fully access the psychological services provided by the Ministry.