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PM hails educational reforms in Georgia

By Salome Modebadze
Monday, August 29
The changes within the new educational curriculum for 2011-2012 were the main subject of discussions at the Governmental Session on August 26. Welcoming the steps made by the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia (MES) during the three preparatory months Prime Minister Nika Gilauri praised the successful execution of the school leaving examinations, Unified National Exams, and teachers’ certification exams.

Gilauri also discussed the innovations introduced to school principals and teachers for raising their motivation and improving the quality of education for pupils. This additional motivation according to the PM would make the teachers improve their educational qualifications and skills thus enabling the directors to select the best teachers from their staff. “For the first time this year we will have teachers with GEL 1 000 salary (per month) – this is the contingent which took certification exams in computer skills and English language, while the principals whose pupils received the highest scores at exams were also rewarded,” Gilauri said confidently that the reforms implemented this year would bring the most positive results in the future.

Minister of Education and Science Dimitri Shashkin compared the situation with the previous achievements of the educational sector and stated that the number of teachers to have been certified in 2011 had doubled. Approving of the state policy the Minister emphasized that the Government had raised the motivation of people engaged in the educational system. Shashkin also praised colleagues on the infrastructural changes at schools stressing that “rehabilitation activities are still going on in 350 schools and 12 new schools are being built” which according to the Minister is an unprecedented figure.

All socially unprotected pupils of any age will receive school books at their homes via Georgian post while the books for those from 1st to 6th grade would cost no more than GEL 10 according to the MES decision at around 150 places throughout Georgia. Moreover “Deda Ena” (the initial book of Georgian language) prepared by Georgian and foreign specialists would also be printed in Azeri and Armenian languages.

According to the information released by the MES, the provision of public schools with net-books has already started. For the first time in Georgia, 60 000 net-books will be presented to 1st graders and their teachers all around the country. Net-books are produced by the companies “Algorithm” and “Intel” in Georgia. Minister Shashkin visited the computer company and observed the process of loading net-books in containers.

As the Minister stated, in this world of modern technologies, computerization and internet, the availability of modern technologies for children is essential for their development. On the initiative of the President of Georgia, net-book “Buki” has been produced. School programs and cognitive games are installed in the net-book and it has internet access. In order to effectively integrate net-books into the education process, teachers have passed special trainings. As a result of the trainings, teachers are able to prepare lessons and education projects using the information technologies (ICT).

Analyst Gia Nodia recollected the situation at Georgian schools during his ministry (in 2008). Stressing that the MES lacked control over the schools in previous years Nodia welcomed the school-leaving exams which according to the analyst “has been a progressive step in the system. “ “When I was a Minister I used to hear people complaining about the absence of pupils at classes or the security issues at school while introduction of resource officers also improved the trend,” Nodia commented on the reforms of the current MES to The Messenger.