Dimitri Shashkini: “A School Is Not a Prison” – Newspaper
Newspaper “Mteli Kvira” March 15, 2010
Title: Dimitri Shashkini: “A School Is Not a Prison”
Subtitle: Students, who are willing to continue studying at higher educational institutions, will receive diplomas. The graduates, who are not willing – will receive certificates.
Shashkini has launched the educational reforms since his appointment as the
Minister of Education and Science. The schoolchildren, who are willing to
receive higher education, will pass 9 exams and cross the minimal competency
level. The competency level will be increased step by step. The Minister spoke with
“Mteli Kvira” about the Guard Institute, to ensure security at schools. The Minister
dreams to allocate funds for all socially vulnerable families.
“Mteli Kvira”: You were appointed as the Minister of Education and Science in the difficult circumstance in educational system. What changes have you made? What are your future plans?
Dimitri Shashkini: I was appointed as the Minister of Education and Science three months ago. By the President’s announcement, the first level of the educational reform was successfully finished. The corruption is eradicated from the educational system. Currently, students enter the universities according to their talent and opportunities and not with the support of the relatives, as it was before. The school financing system, as well as the heating system and generally, public utilities have been regulated. The schoolchildren were attending the lessons in coats before 2003. We crossed the first round of the reforms after solving above mentioned problems. The second round also requires time. The Ministry will present the four year National Curriculum in a week. We want to introduce to the society our future plans.
“Mteli Kvira”: What is the sense of four years reform?
Dimitri Shashkini: We will create the exact conception of schools, vocational education and training centers and higher educational institutions. All schools will pass the authorization before 2015. This means to sign the memorandum between the school and the state. The five year plan will envisage solving the problems during five years. School infrastructure will be improved - all schools will be equipped with gyms or open stadiums. Some schools have been already equipped. The schools cannot refurbish the gyms on their own. The government will allocate the funds for school infrastructure.
M.K.:What changes are planned in the educational process?
D.Sh.: The society will be familiarized with the National Curriculum in
September, 2010. The curriculum will be
activated in 2011, after preparing the textbooks. The current curriculum does not include the
concrete educational writings. The schools have different curricula for this
reason. The teachers have not got the defined plan, which writing of Ilia
Chavchavadze has to be taught. The teachers choose the different programs in
M.K : What alterations are planned in the Unified Entry Exams?
D.Sh.: The students will pass the exams in Georgian Language and Literature,
General Abilities, foreign languages and additionally, in the subject, they
choose on their own. The criteria of allocating grants will be changed. The
General Ability test results were the determinant in allocating grants in the
past. From now on, all subject results will decide the grants allocation. The
schoolchildren, who will be willing to receive the higher education will cross
the minimal competency level in following nine exams: Georgian Language and
literature, foreign languages, chemistry, physics, biology, geography, history
and mathematics. They will pass 4 entry exams at the same time. By the way, we
have decreased the minimal competency level specially. This kind of question
will be asked in mathematics: calculate the 5% of 80. The schoolchildren, who
graduate from school, have to know elementary mathematical issues. If
M.K.: What changes will arise after creating the Guard system at schools, if you consider the different opinions of parents’ toward the police.
D.Sh.: The Guard System is one of the components of Safe Schools .It envisages attending three people (2 men, 1 woman) during the educational process at schools to carry out the crime preventive measures. It does not mean the punishment. They will control children behavior to avoid the terrible crime incidents. Parents’ directed their attention on the guaranties of the security at schools during the meetings in December-January. Every parent wants the safe school.
M.K: Doesn’t it mean, the children will not be able to leave the school during the educational process on their own.
D.Sh.: Why not? The school is not a prison and a punishment mechanism, schoolchildren
are free people.
M.K.: Many schools have been unified after the revolution. What is going on in this sphere currently and what measures are you holding to rehabilitate the schools?
D.Sh.: Currently, around 2200 public schools exist in
M.K.: Last yea,r the ministry implemented students’ social program. According to parents’ opinions, the program was discriminative. Students from vulnerable families and from mountain regions, who were included in the list, were not financed. What was the reason of this imperfection?
D.Sh.: The social programs, created for vulnerable students, exist nowadays. The issue is very difficult. The ministry allocated defined funds for every vulnerable student. My dream is to support every vulnerable family, but the fund is not enough in the budget. The ministry works with the budget, defined by the parliament. So, we try to help every vulnerable student according to the fairness principle.