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Minister Claims Democracy Comes to School

The election of public school principals, for the first time in Georgia, has put an end to ?communist-type management? and paved the way for democratic norms in schools, Alexander Lomaia, the education minister, said on July 9.

The elections were held in up to 1,500 public schools throughout the country on July 7. School Boards of Trustees, each consisting of teachers, parents and one pupil, voted.

?A democratic process of local governance in the schools, with the establishment of Boards of Trustees was launched exactly a year ago and this process has come to its logical end with these elections,? Minister Lomaia said.

As a result of these reforms, he said, public schools have undergone several major changes.

?A pupil in a democratic school is no longer a means; he/she is a goal; not an ideologically brainwashed citizen, but a free citizen capable of critical thinking, will be nurtured in a new school; parents, teachers and pupils have been delegated all the authority necessary to lead and further develop schools; the state will no longer be engaged in everyday, routine management of schools,? Lomaia said.

He said that ?a new generation of leaders? had emerged in schools as a result of this reform. The average age of the new school principals is 44.

The selection process for candidates for school principals started last November. The first stage saw 5,200 would-be candidates sitting a test. 3,500 passed, with the highest scorers given a choice in where they would run for the principal position. Other candidates had to run in schools chosen at random. 

Minister Lomaia said on July 9 that with this set-piece reform complete, increased financing for the education sector and particularly increased salaries for teachers would become the focus for his ministry.

?In a few days the prime minister [Zurab Nogaideli] will announce plans for further improvement in school financing,? he said.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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