General Education System of Georgia: A Path towards More Westernization?

photo-credit-to-the-ministry-of-education-science-culture-and-sports-of-georgia_www-mes-gov-ge

Georgian education system is represented first of all by general education stages overall with 12 years of study – starting from the age of 6, when the majority of children enter an elementary school (primary, – carried out during 6 years, implemented in I-VI grades; basic, – conducted for 3 years, implemented in VII-IX grades; and secondary education, – including 3 years, and carried out in X-XII grades.), as well as by higher education system comprising mainly university level teaching, being implemented through educational programs of all three (bachelor, master, and doctoral) cycles of higher education and research.

 

 

Primary and basic education is mandatory in Georgia, while all the education institutions are public or private. General education is fully funded by the state with the voucher applicable to a financial norm for a student. Textbooks and sometimes laptops are available either free of charge, especially at public schools, and for beginners, or they should be purchased by students and/or their parents. It is officially up to a school to establish uniforms; however in reality such cases are almost exceptional. Based on the data from April 2018, there are 2085 public and 224 private schools operating in the country.

 

 

Upon completing the basic education, students receive a Basic Education Certificate (Atestate). Upon completing the full general education, they receive a Full General Education Certificate (Atestate). When striving for the full integration into the Western and European education standards, attestation exams are conducted by the LEPL – National Assessment and Examination Center, and these exams are being held through computerized testing method (CAT). A person, who completes the full general education and receives the certificate (Atestate), has the right to continue learning in the higher education institution. And a person, who completes the basic education, has the right to continue studies on the Secondary education level of the general education or primary level of the vocational education.

 

 

English as a primary foreign language, is being taught at school mainly from the second grade, while other foreign languages, including Russian can be selected by a student to learn generally from the fifth grade. This is direct opposite to the former practice, when during the Soviet times, in Georgia as part of the Soviet Union, Russian was taught at school from the second grade, while other foreign languages, and English among them, could be selected by a student to study from the fifth grade. During the Communist Regime, Georgia, apart from Russia, represented the only Soviet republic, which managed to keep its own language – Georgian as a state language.

 

 

According to the new education concept and policy addressing the scarce, post-Soviet deficit particularly in regards of technical and professional training, there is a strong state and political emphasis on promoting vocational education in Georgia. Vocational educational institutions are: A) Vocational College; B) Community College; C) General education institution authorized to carry out the first three levels of VET programs; D) Higher education institution authorized to carry out VET programs of all levels. Precondition for admission to the third level vocational education programs is the basic level certificate (Atestate) of General Education; professional testing and depending on the specifics of the profession, additional conditions are defined by the vocational educational standards. The precondition for admission to the fourth and fifth levels of vocational educational programs is the General Education Certificate (Atestate). Upon completing each level of vocational education, the vocational diploma of the relevant level is issued. According to the data from April 2018, 23 public and 43 private vocational institutions are operating in Georgia.

 

 

Only holders of the State Certificates (Atestate) confirming full general education or persons equalized with them, have a right to enter higher education institutions. The Unified National Exams are the precondition for admission to university programs. Georgia, as a full member of the Bologna Process / European higher education area since 2005, uses the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ESTC) at higher education institutions. Based on the data from April 2018, 34 public and 37 private higher education institutions operate in Georgia.

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