- Human Resource Management
- public information
The Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia, Mikheil Chkhenkeli presented an anti-crisis plan, aimed at discussing all levels of education, to better confront the COVID-19 pandemic. During the presentation, the Minister briefed the public on the steps taken by the Ministry in the field of distance learning, as well as discussing current projects, various challenges, and specific plans for their solution.
Mikheil Chkhenkeli: “As for higher education, I would like to thank the professors and the heads of the universities. They were able to quickly mobilize resources and switch to remote learning mode. We monitor the quality of teaching daily, not only based on our standards, but also by the standards of the European Association of Higher Education Quality Assurance Agencies (ENQA).
Please note, final exams will be held in higher education institutions at the sixth stage of the restriction relief plan. As for the intermediaries, the universities have already successfully coped with them in accordance with the recommendations of the Ministry. It is also important to discuss the issue of submitting theses, which must be done using an individual schedule, based on the agreement between the student and the supervisor.
Furthermore, it is planned to hold a Council of Rectors online, where several important matters will be discussed, including the revision of practical and laboratory courses. This process will be carried out in compliance with health recommendations and protocols, issued by the Ministry of Health.
The Minister also noted that the entire education system has shifted to e-learning mode to ensure an uninterrupted process of education. During the initial phase of the pandemic, the Council of Rectors convened, the spring semester to resume from March 16 in the e-learning mode. This would allow to replace the online teaching method with a hybrid form after students return to the classroom. Mikheil Chkhenkeli emphasized that since all universities faced one common challenge, all decisions were made based on the mutual assistance and the sharing of experiences between universities.
The Minister noted that the universities were advised to follow the guidelines of e-learning and quality assurance developed by the Association of Quality Assurance Agencies of the European Higher Education (ENQA).
At this stage, higher education institutions use various applications and online platforms that promote distance learning such as: Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Moodle, and Google Classroom. The Ministry has also developed relevant guidelines and video tutorials for academic staff and students as well. To better manage the learning process, the curricula have been modified, online lectures / seminars have been uploaded to the relevant platform and are now available to all students. Moreover, teaching methods and assessment systems have been revised. The universities have determined the evaluation mechanism based on the recommendation provided by the Ministry. Final exams will be held mainly during the stage VI of the restriction relief plan.
It should be noted that all training courses, which include a practical component and laboratory work, will be conducted in an intensive mode when returned to the classroom.
Mikheil Chkhenkeli made it clear that higher education institutions were given a recommendation to consider a tuition fee concession policy. Students are offered a flexible individual payment schedule or deferred tuition fees for students are available.
As for grants, scholarships, and program funding for the spring semester of 2019-2020 academic year, the Ministry will ensure a smooth transfer of necessary procedures.