What Innovations are Introduced at Schools and What Does the So Called CAT System Envisage?
Interview with Dimitri Shashkini
The school year begins on September 15 in all public schools. ‘’PrimeTime” spoke with the Minister of Education and Science of Georgia, Dimitri Shashkini about the innovations at schools.
For the first time this year, the school begins on September 15. From now on the school year will always begin on September 15. Two semesters are defined. We refused the trimester system. The first semester will begin on September 15 and last until December 24. Afterwards winter holidays will begin. It will last till January 20. The second semester will begin after the winter holidays. The school year will finish on June 15. Only the 1th and the 12th graders will finish the school on May 20.
According to my information the schoolchildren assessment system is changed as well. What are the concrete innovations in this direction?
Before the present, teachers assessed the schoolchildren according to 6 components that were quite difficult. For example: one of the components was the activity of the child. But some children are not so active but they are talented and they cannot show this talent. This should not be the reason for their bad mark. These 6 components are canceled. Totally three components will be maintained: homework, in class assignment and the summarizing assignment. All three of them have the same influence. The school journals are changed as well. Teachers will have opportunity to control the academic attendance and achievements of the schoolchildren.
Why did you introduce the new subjects?
This is one of the most important issues. Civil defence and safety lessons will be introduced as the separate subject from the new academic year. Sports lessons will be given instead of physical fitness lessons in the public schools. Computer learning will be the compulsory subject as well. We are going to give the pilot English language lessons to the first graders. It will concern about 3,000 first graders. They will be provided with around 3,000 computers. The first graders of three schools of Tbilisi and several regional schools will be presented with netbooks from the President of Georgia. Educational games will be uploaded in these netbooks. The web-site buki is created as well. Textbooks and additional literature as well as the educational games are uploaded for all graders. Integrated dance classes for the fourth graders are very important as well.
One of the innovations is school canteens. As it is known cash is abolished at schools. . .
Yes, we still continue refurbishing school canteens in Tbilisi. According to my order, cash was abolished in schools. The calculation will be carried out with the credit cards. Providers carry out refurbishment of the canteens. Renovation of Gyms or stadiums is already finished together with the support of Tbilisi City Hall.
What can you say about the quality of the textbooks that are sold in the markets?
Previously MES had liberal approach about the textbooks. Almost all textbooks were approved. This year we restricted the approval rule. Publishers expressed negative opinion. Only textbooks that satisfy concrete requirements were approved. All approved textbooks have the high quality. I promised the society to solve the textbook problem by 2012. But I still need many years. We abolished low quality textbooks in the market. For the first time in Georgia, multilingual textbooks were published for non-Georgian schools. That is very important as well.
Teachers as well as the schoolchildren will have to follow the codes of ethics from the new academic year. What can you say about the effectiveness of the result?
As you know, totally 3 codes of ethics were created – teachers’, schoolchildren’s and principals’. All schools will develop internal regulation according to these codes. The discipline will be maintained at schools with the assistance of the resource officers. Freedom gives rights and responsibilities as well. The schoolchild should analyze that misbehavior will be followed with the concrete sanctions, even physical labor. Teachers should understand that humiliation is not allowed.
How will the graduation exams be held in the 12th form?
Totally 8 exams will be held through the CAT system. 2010 Unified Entry Exams reflected that entrants received low marks in math, chemistry, physics, generally in natural sciences. Graduates should study all the subjects and not only the subjects that are needed for enrollment in higher educational institutions. In 2011, for the first time in Georgia, general education graduation exams will be held with the CAT system. It enables to evaluate the knowledge of the child fairly and objectively. 12th grader will have to pass 8 exams for the diplomas. All exams will be held with the computer system. The schoolchild will enter the room where the video surveillance cameras will be installed, sit at the computer that will be connected to the server.
What is the advantage of the CAT system?
The schoolchild will immediately receive the answer. The computer will show the questions of the basic complexity. The next question will depend on the answer. The result will be given in 20 minutes. Changes are not made in Unified Entry Exams. They will be held for enrollment in the higher educational institutions.