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Inclusive Education Practices in Georgia

Georgia introduced inclusive education into its general education system in the year 2006. As a result, there are now 2100 schools out of which over 1000 general education institutions are engaged in inclusive education.

Two thousand thirteen  was a significant year for the advancement of the rights of persons with disabilities including the improvement of the legislative framework of inclusive education. On December 23, 2013, the Parliament of Georgia adopted a resolution to ratify the “Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” (CRPD).

 

In accordance with the 24th and 27th Articles of the “Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” this document represents an alternative report for Georgia to effectively establish inclusive education principles in line with the following guidelines:

 

o   Analysis of the National Legislation

o   Ensuring Lifelong and Quality Education

o   Academic and Social Development and Individual Assistance

o   Opportunities for Mastering Life and Social Development Skills

o   Teachers’ Professional Development

o   Equal Access to Tertiary, Vocational & Lifelong Education

o   Role and Inclusion of Stakeholders

 

The Civic Development Institute  conducted an  alternative report review on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (in the frame of the project “Inclusive Education Practice in Georgia”) in 9 regions: Telavi, Zugdidi, Ozurgeti, Gori, Batumi, Kutaisi, Marneuli, Akhalcikhe and Kvareli. The meetings were held from May 19 till June 4. There were 157 attendees (school principals, teachers, public institutions and non-governmental representatives). The meetings were conducted by the Civic Development Institute (CDI) representative, Education specialist Tamar Mosiashvili and was covered by the media.

 

You can find el. version of the  alternative report here.

The education researcher, Doctor Simon Janashia was interviewed. He was the leader of education system in Georgia, including inclusive education reform in 2004-2009. You can find the interview below:

 

What are  the importance of alternative reports? for Georgia? How can schools, society, CSOs and state institutions use the  findings?

Alternative reports provide opportunity for general public and for the international organizations to assess the correctness of the official reports provided by the government. In this regards they are a tool for more transparency of the public policy. On the other hand, the alternative report helps the government of a country to understand challenges of the particular domain of social life from a perspective that may not be adopted by the official policies. Therefore, alternative reports are an effective way to engage the civic society in influencing the positive change.

 

We want to share the report with the members of the Caucasus Network For Children (CNC). How do you think,  the Georgian experience of inclusive education practices will help  our Caucasian colleagues?

Most countries of the Caucasus share the Soviet legacy in education. Therefore, these nations face similar challenges in  redesigning the schools to become more learner-centered and child-friendly. The Georgian experience in implementing inclusive education policies could help others to anticipate challenges, pitfalls and successes in their own endeavors. Inclusive education is becoming a priority in all countries of the CNC and therefore sharing experiences with each other could lead to a dialogue,  enhancing the knowledge of  the best practices, policy considerations and ways of involvement for the civic society groups and organizations.

 

What is your opinion on inclusive education in Georgia from a  5 year perspective? What are the main challenges?

There are three important challenges for implementing inclusive education in Georgia. First, there is a deficiency of trained professionals in Georgian schools. These include special education teachers, general teachers and school managers. Second, the educational infrastructure required for integration of children with special educational needs is underdeveloped. Schools lack proper design of the buildings. There are transportation problems. There are very few software in the Georgian language that could enhance the chances of children to overcome visual and hearing difficulties. And third, the regulatory policies are very rigid, hindering the autonomy of schools to adapt the curriculum, receive and allocate educational funding and hire professionals in the most effective and efficient ways.