Georgian PM, Education Minister review school infrastructure, scientific research in 2023 plans

  • Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on Wednesday met with Minister of Education and Science Mikheil Chkhenkeli and his deputies. Photo: Government press office, 8 Feb 2023 - 19:25, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on Wednesday discussed plans in the country’s educational and scientific sectors for this year with Minister of Education and Science Mikheil Chkhenkeli and his deputies, the Government Administration said. 

In a meeting at the Government Administration, the Ministry officials briefed the PM about infrastructural projects in the sectors, starting with the ₾1 billion ($354 mln) budget for construction and renovation of 800 schools across the country between 2022-2026.

Tenders have been completed for the renovation of 320 public schools within the effort, the body said, while calls for companies intending to participate in the renovation are in progress for 80 other schools. The second phase will involve 400 more educational venues between 2024-2026.

Chkhenkeli said “all public schools” across the country would have “modern infrastructure” by 2026, while Garibashvili noted the increased budget for the ministry - set at 2 billion ($760 mln), with an increase of ₾345.9 million ($131 mln) over 2022 - would facilitate the implementation of the planned projects. 

The Minister of Education and Science Mikheil Chkhenkeli during the meeting with the PM. Photo: Government press office. 

The Ministry’s plans for this year include: 

  • Support programmes for public and private preschool educational institutions and schools to facilitate their authorisation process. The process for preschool educational facilities is planned to begin in 2023 and run until the end of 2030. The authorisation process will also cover 400 schools this year
  • Equipping public schools with computers and computer labs
  • Development and implementation of a third-generation, competency-based national curriculum at schools
  • Approval of textbooks for the 11th, first and second grades before the start of the 2023-2024 academic year and translation of new printed textbooks into the languages of the country’s ethnic minority communities
  • Digitisation of select textbooks
  • Introduction of chess classes to “help the development of critical thinking” in students, with the initiative involving second- and first-graders
  • Introduction of “more intensive” studies in Defence and Security and Military Affairs subjects, with a selection competition and special training launched for military personnel
  • Offering History of Georgia as an independent subject for 11th graders, with the Ministry selecting a textbook for subsequent approval
  • Organising student camps, updating school libraries, and organisation of festivals and events for promotion of non-formal education
  • Organisation of school Olympiads and funding for student participation in European and international competitions
  • Continuation of a joint educational project with the Georgian Public Broadcaster to offer more educational TV programmes to students
  • Promotion of professional development of teachers in regions with ethnic minorities
  • Offering vocational education at 30 public schools in municipalities where access to vocational education is currently limited
  • Introduction of regulations for exchange and joint programmes to create opportunities for the implementation of professional programmes together with foreign educational institutions. The effort will include increasing the number of participants in the Erasmus+ programme, while exchange programmes will be offered to both students and teachers
  • A new project in cooperation with the German Reconstruction Credit Bank to develop two new centres of excellence - the Telavi Wine School and the Dusheti Tourism School in eastern Georgia. In addition, development of a centre for transport, logistics and construction in capital Tbilisi will continue with the support of the German Government
  • Increase of the hourly salary of vocational education teachers by 20 percent

The PM and Education Minister praised the “mega project” of Kutaisi International University launched in the country’s west in 2020  thanks to the founder of the Georgian Dream ruling party and former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, and said the facility was expected to offer new programmes to students “in the near future”.

The Education and Science Ministry officials discussed all planned projects in a meting with the Head of the Georgian Government. Photo: Government press office. 

Chkhenkeli also highlighted an agreement signed earlier this year with the German-based GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research, which has enabled sharing of experience in proton cyclotron operation for radiation therapy and provision of scientific and technological consultations to the University for its Hadronic Therapy Centre.

The €1 billion project for the Centre is expected to enable scientific work in the fields of oncology and proton therapy, with the Minister saying the “ultra-modern” cyclotrons had already been installed in the facility.

The discussion also included Georgia’s hosting of the annual international forum of the European Association for Quality Assurance of Higher Education, with 150 industry professionals from 32 European countries expected to attend the event.

The meeting also highlighted Gariibashvili’s “personal role” in 2021 to ensure the country’s associated  membership in Horizon Europe, the European Union's new research and innovation framework programme.

The development has allowed Georgia’s scientific community to participate in competitions announced as part of the programme, which has a budget of €95.5 billion, under the same conditions as scientists of the bloc’s member countries.