Education Reform: Post-Soviet Georgia
Education reform is a hot topic, so the success story of the Republic of Georgia is worth looking at. Here with a first hand account is guest blogger Tamar Todria.
Many countries grapple with the skills mismatch, but post-Soviet countries still face influence of the Soviet period. I come from the post-Soviet country of Georgia, where the education system was totally corrupted with no accessibility to quality education. Thousands of post-graduates obtained degrees without obtaining any real knowledge, and as a result, the country saw a lack of proficiency in many fields.
Another problem that led to a rise in youth unemployment was the relation of educational programmes to market demand. To meet the demands of the labour market and get a job, fulfilling employers’ requirements is essential.
“Europe must educate for employment,” says Jürgen Thumann, President of BusinessEurope. But improving the education system to adapt to new labour market needs, or even adjust to existing needs, is substantial process.
Georgia, however, decided to undertake it. The main idea behind the education reforms of the last few years was access to quality education for all. Gradually, things changed.
The government started implementing large-scale state programmes, offering new services, grants and scholarships, updating content and merging theoretical knowledge with the practical.
These initiatives have worked, bringing quality education to Georgia. The school attendance rate improved to 97%, and the drop out rate significantly decreased. From 2013, the government started to fully-fund professional education in state-owned institutions.
Taking into account the vulnerable groups who are marginalised by factors such as poverty, conflict or disaster, geographical location, ethnicity, language, age or disability, the budgets of social programmes for funding Bachelors and Masters students have been increased.
Such activities have finally and gradually led to a steady improvement of education and accessibility. Nowadays – more or less – postgraduate students can find appropriate and suitable jobs for their professions.
I believe that education is not static, but should be adjusted to what modern life and the labour market demands. Gaining knowledge is important, but knowing how to use this knowledge adequately and properly is also essential.
Why do we need diplomas if we don’t have suitable jobs? A diploma should be a guarantee of an acceptable job related to the degree obtained. In order to have value, a degree must be a signal of quality.
To conclude, education is a fundamental right that should be the cornerstone of every government. Quality knowledge is an investment in a prosperous future, in the next generation and in the welfare state.
Article submitted by Tamar Todria, a graduate from the Institute for European Studies’s Interdisciplinary English language programme with an MA in European Studies and a BA degree in International Relations from Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University’s Faculty of Social and Political Sciences.
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