Georgian PM names education as “top strategic priority” at UN education summit

  • Georgian prime minister Irakli Garibashvili addressed the Transforming Education Summit of the United Nations on Monday. Photo: government of Georgia press office, 20 Sep 2022 - 11:22, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian prime minister Irakli Garibashvili named education as his government’s “top strategic priority” in his address at the United Nations education summit on Monday, stressing commitment to increasing public funding of the sector to up to six percent of the gross domestic product by 2030.

Addressing top UN figures and world leaders gathered at the international event to respond to global educational challenges, the head of the Georgian government said inclusive, equitable, high-quality education was a “fundamental human right”.

The long-term education policy of the government of Georgia is built on three main pillars: quality, equity, and good governance. The goals and strategic objectives resonate with five thematic action tracks highlighted in the report of the International Commission on the Future of Education, and it is fully in line with UN sustainable development goals”, Garibashvili said. 

Georgian prime minister Irakli Garibashvili addressing the Transforming Education Summit of the United Nations. Video: government of Georgia press office.  

Speaking about the government’s intentions in the education field, Garibashvili pledged to “redouble our efforts to improve curriculums, provide modern and diverse education resources, and invest in professional development for teachers and educators, who are the backbone of our efforts to equip the future generation with adequate skills and knowledge”. 

One of our next steps is to build and renovate 800 schools by 2026. By 2030, all Georgian schools will be fully modernised and aligned with internationally recognised standards”, said the prime minister, noting that by 2030, all Georgian education institutions would undergo “a new, multifaceted authorisation process” focused on ensuring “effective education practices” and implementation of quality assurance mechanisms to promote accountability.

Recalling education-related complications during the Covid-19 pandemic, the prime minister said his government had “successfully enabled” the education system to operate distance learning by introducing a number of free and accessible online and broadcast tools for students and teachers at all education levels. 

Georgia was among the first globally to introduce curriculum-based TV programmes. I am proud to share that Georgia’s efforts and success in introducing distance learning were acknowledged by the international community”, Garibashvili said. 

Emphasising the need of quality education for any member of the public, Garibashvili said the government was “prioritising educational support for students in our occupied territories where the ongoing Russian occupation has disrupted many parts of daily life”. 

Additionally, we have successfully placed in Georgian schools more than 1,500 Ukrainian students who were forced to flee due to Russian aggression. To do so we established streamlined enrolment procedures and provided general education in the Ukrainian language according to standard Ukrainian curriculums with the help of qualified specialists. Additionally, Ukrainian students pursuing higher education in Georgia can now do so without passing national examinations”, Garibashvili said. 

In his final note, the prime minister said his government was determined to reduce social, cultural, and financial barriers by providing access to preschool, general, vocational, and higher education without hindrance, “in line with top international standards”.