Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze has unveiled a five-year plan for education reform, which aims at improving the quality of education at all levels, including through modernizing the education system and retraining teachers.
The reform plan was introduced to government officials, lawmakers, experts, and representatives of local and international organizations at an outdoor presentation on September 14, in the premises of the Ikalto Academy, a medieval center of education in the eastern Georgian region of Kakheti.
Speaking at the presentation, Prime Minister Bakhtadze said forming of “a strong and thorough education system” is essential for addressing the challenges facing the country. “I pledge to bring the education reform to completion and achieve the results that Georgia deserves,” he noted.
Bakhtadze stressed the reform plan, proposed for 2018-2023, will harmonize the country’s education system with the European standard. He also said in one year’s time the share of budgetary spending on education will increase to 10%-11% of the GDP, making it the leading expenditure component.
Bakhtadze also announced that “particular emphasis” will be drawn to secondary education reform. A new teaching model will be piloted in 50 schools in 2019 and introduced to the rest of the schools by 2023, according to the PM. “All schools in Georgia should meet highest standards,” he said.
The Prime Minister spoke on teachers’ salaries as well, pledging to increase the pay for approximately ten thousand teachers starting from the 2018-2019 academic year. According to Mamuka Bakhtadze, the average salary amount will be tripled by 2023.
PM Bakhtadze touched upon the importance of technology in schools, saying “a modern classroom should be based on technological advances and should develop in parallel with technologies.”
The Prime Minister spoke on vocational training as well. He said training centers have to be tailored to regional and market needs and that the number of vocational centers, as well as the student enrolment there, has to increase significantly.
PM Bakhtadze listed education as his government’s “absolute” priority in his acceptance speech on June 14, saying the government would invest heavily in the education reform.