In accordance with the instructions of the Prime Minister, the Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia, Mikheil Chkhenkeli presented an anti-crisis plan regarding all areas of education. During the presentation, the Minister addressed the public about the projects implemented by the Ministry in the battle against coronavirus with regards to general, higher and vocational education, in conjunction with discussing the current challenges and concrete solutions.
Mikheil Chkhenkeli: “Considering the results of distance learning introduced in the general education system, we can emphasize that the academic year will not be announced, this semester has taken place successfully! This is a great achievement of our entire educational community. I would like to thank the teachers and professors for the real heroism they have committed. Together with our famous doctors, they were really in the vanguard of the battle”.
At the moment, schools are successfully teaching by using various remote methods, which the Ministry successfully introduced to ensure the further spread of Covid-19 and the continuity of education. Based on the results achieved, there is no plan to announce the annul 2019-2020 Spring Semester.
In presenting the plan, the Minister stressed the fact that the introduction of distance learning in the Georgian education system has been highly praised by international organizations. In particular, the framework document of the International Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD) on overcoming the challenges posed by Covid-19, named Georgia as one of the best examples in implementing various measures in the field of education. Additionally, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) also praised the measures taken by the Georgian government.
The Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports has offered schools various alternatives of distance learning, including the Microsoft Teams program, the Georgian online learning platform FeedcEdu, and the TV School project. The Minister discussed each of the distance learning methods and noted that with the help of the Ministry's LEPL Education Management Information System (EMIS), 600,000 Microsoft Office 365 user accounts were created for public school students, teachers, and faculty members. Moreover, virtual classrooms were created in Microsoft Teams, where every student at every level can actively engage in the learning process with their peers.
It is noteworthy, to further facilitate the online learning, the ministry is working on the Georgian translation of Microsoft Teams software. At the same time, the pilot program of "Minecraft Education Edition" is being introduced at schools.
As for the Georgian online learning platform - FeedcEdu, the Minister stated, the program works well on any smartphone and does not require high-speed internet connection. The platform provides the ability to share tasks, upload or download documents, conduct group lessons with a sleek user interface.
Another important project of distance learning "TV School” was launched by the Ministry together with the First Channel on March 30. According to the Minister, with the implementation of “TV School” the Georgian education system has taken care of the universal access to distance learning. Mikheil Chkhenkeli emphasized, the airtime covers all subjects at all levels. TV lessons are conducted by experienced teachers of various subjects. Undoubtedly, the interest of students with special educational needs is also considered in the initial planning of live lessons. Additionally, all transmissions are provided by a gesture translator. Moreover, from April 13, TV lessons in Mathematics, Natural Science, and Biology, were added for ethnic minorities in Armenian and Azerbaijani languages, in conjunction with adding Armenian and Azerbaijani language lessons.