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Mikheil Saakashvili informed the government about the new initiatives

By Salome Modebadze
Monday, April 18
On April 14 at the Presidential Palace, President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili, Dmitri Shaskin, Minister of Education, and Lado Vardzelashvili Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs introduced new initiatives to enhance learning of Georgian in regions of Georgia. Having received information about the study of the Georgian language in some regions Saakashvili gave special tasks for intensifying the process to the Governors of Samtskhe-Javakheti and Kvemo Kartli. Worrying that despite all the activities carried out in previous years, thousands of people still have “no knowledge of the Georgian language on a sufficient level to create their own successful careers in independent Georgia.”

Wishing he could see more representatives of ethnic groups in Governmental positions, Parliament membership, business or other social spheres, the President highlighted that adequate knowledge of Georgian language is the initial step for such changes. Saakashvili welcomed the fact that Georgian schools teaching Georgian language have been opened in regions but disapproved of the insufficient level of success.

“Economic and social development probably goes on faster in Georgia than anywhere else but we haven’t given these people the major thing - knowledge of the Georgian language,” the President worried. Giving special tasks to the Governors, Saakashvili asked them to ensure teaching 30% of subjects in the Georgian language in all non-Georgian schools. So that math, chemistry, biology, geography, history has to be taught in Georgian and Azerbaijani, Armenian-Georgian, Russian-Georgian, Ossetian-Georgian.

Moreover, if teachers with only a college degree would teach the Georgian language in regions they would not only have GEL 500 salary but the state would fully finance their Masters Degree after a year’s experience. Explaining that the youth wouldn’t only find jobs but continue advancing their education the President said that “this would create a certain stimulus among the students.” The local regional teachers would also have some challenges as those teaching subjects in two languages (Armenian and Georgian, etc) would receive additional GEL 200 salary.

The Georgian President further spoke of the leisure activities for different ethnic groups living in or visiting Georgia. Stressing that at least the half of the contingent of such youth should be those who don’t speak Georgian, Saakashvili emphasized that the Anaklia patriotic camp would be of top-class this year. “And those who would go to this paradise for the holidays will enjoy lots of things there,” Saakashvili stated. An Aqua Park, skate boarding, bicycle paths and computer classes will be among the daily activities for the youth along with Georgian language classes.

Guests from Ukraine, Moldova and Belorussia are also expected to visit the country according to the President who called it the “decisive historic moment of consolidation of Georgian statehood and integration of people.” Stressing that Georgia equally belongs to the representatives of various ethnicities participating in state processes. Saakashvili said that Georgian citizenship should first of all be reflected in everyone’s daily lives and realize that learning the Georgian language is a path to their career and future success.

Welcoming promotion of English language among the Georgians Saakashvili called it a “revolution that 70% of entrants choose to learn the English language not because we do not want any other language but because we want the one which is the language of world communication.” “We have spent huge resources on sending English language teachers throughout the country including the regions where our citizens can’t even speak the state language but we shouldn’t forget that the state language is decisive,” stated the President.

Emphasizing that the Georgian language should be the bridge for integration of people by maintaining their identity and culture in the multi-religious country the President suggested allocation of additional finances for promoting the state language in regions through various information campaigns for raising public awareness of the language problem.