I had the pleasure of a breakfast meeting with the Minister at the start of 2011 and I have to say that it was a great experience and he really is keen to improve the quality of education in Georgia. What followed from that meeting was my summer project in school, and later I founded Oceans Project Georgia as my way of extending the work that TLG volunteers are able to do. I no longer work for TLG as I’m now full time on Oceans Project, but I always count my blessings that I had the opportunity to come to Georgia in 2010 with TLG and to be part of such an amazing project that really does ‘make a difference’. Where else in the world, would you get to share your experiences of teaching at the front line, with the ultimate decision maker the Minister for Education, and truly feel that you were listened to and that your ideas mattered. I’m sure that other countries could learn a lot from Georgia. I’m also really proud to say that I have seen a lot of changes in that time, and that hard work is really starting to show now, all around us. In Tbilisi, the buildings are being renovated, schools now have little laptops, and new books, and attitudes and experiences are changing, relatively quickly. These truly are exciting times. Great job TLG and all the TLG volunteers, because every one of you has left a little mark on the future of Georgia’s young people, and you probably won’t really feel that until you leave Georgia and reflect on your time here. Well done!!
A little over a week ago, myself and some fellow TLG-ers sat down to breakfast with the Georgian Minister of Education, Dimitri Shashkini as a “thank-you” for our work and as an opportunity to ask questions about the Georgian education system. Here are some quick facts:
- Based on a Gallup poll conducted in 2011, studies reveal that only 25% of Georgian parents are actively involved in the education process.
- The average teacher in Georgia is 60 years old, which means that most are teaching using old Soviet methodology. Additionally, a poll conducted indicated that 1/3 of people in Georgia are opposed to any educational reforms. Because Georgia is a small country with a population of about 4.7 million, 25% of its people in opposition to an idea has a huge impact on the policies that can or cannot be implemented, making it extremely difficult to change things.
- In 2010 when…
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