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Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia, Mikheil Chkhenkeli met with US Ambassador to the United States. Kelly Deganan and USAID Mission Director in Georgia, Peter Wiebler to discuss a $7 million project, planned to be implemented within the scope of strategic partnership between the United States and Georgia.
Mikheil Chkhenkeli thanked the US Ambassador and USAID representatives for their continuous support of educational projects in Georgia and stressed the importance of the United States as Georgia's strategic partner for the development of the country's education sector. According to the Minister, this is an important investment that will strengthen the ongoing projects within the scope of the education reform.
Mikheil Chkhenkeli: “Today, I had an immensely interesting meeting with the Ambassador of the United States of America and the Director of the USAID Mission, where we discussed the details of the $ 7 million project. It will be used entirely to improve our education system, namely, the project will refine student-centered teaching methods. This, in turn, will improve students' critical thinking and cognitive skills. I would like to thank the American people, the United States Government and the Embassy for their support of the Georgian education and science system.”
Kelly Degnan, US Ambassador to Georgia: “Today we had a wonderful meeting with the Minister, where we officially opened the USAID General Education Program. This is a $ 7 million project that is in line with the ministry's reform of the New School Model. We hope that these programs will achieve desirable results in the end. The USAID program aims to create a student-centered learning environment, in addition to providing teacher training, creating new learning resources, in conjunction with developing a variety of useful skills amongst the students. We work closely with our agencies - USAID, Millennium Challenge Corporation, and Peace Corps, and will continue to do so in the future."
Peter Wiebler, USAID Georgia Mission Director: “Today is an important day for USAID, as we, along with the Minister and the Ambassador, have marked the launch of a new $ 7 million USAID program that will run for five years. The program supports general education and is especially important for three specific reasons: firstly, it is a reform of the Georgian education system, it is initiated by the Georgian side, and we, the American side, support its overall implementation; Secondly, the project involves refining the existing field of education, shifting to a more student-centered system, developing critical, analytical skills in students, and sharing modern teaching methods; and lastly the third factor, the project involves the private sector, whether it’s international of Georgian companies. I think these three factors make this program vitally important.”
USAID's new program aims to promote interactive teaching in Georgian public schools, which in turn will help students develop reading, mathematical, critical, and problem-solving skills. Such an approach will lay a solid foundation for the success of young people in the long run.
Mikheil Chkhenkeli briefed the US Ambassador and the USAID Mission Director on the important news in the Georgian education system. In particular, he noted that the process of introducing the Minecraft Education Edition as a pilot is underway. The game based educational platform promotes the development of spatial, logical, and creative skills amongst students, as well as critical thinking.
Moreover, the Minister also spoke about the mega-project - Kutaisi International University, for which the former Prime Minister, Mr. Bidzina Ivanishvili and his family donated a sum of EUR 1 billion. Kutaisi International University will receive its first flow of students from September 2020. Well-known Georgian and foreign professors will give lectures at the university.
According to Mikheil Chkhenkeli, the Hadron Therapy Center will be established on the premises of Kutaisi International University, where modern research in medical and nuclear physics will be carried out together with the treatment of oncological diseases. The Cartu Foundation has funded the Hadron Therapy Center with a sum of 40 million euros.
During the meeting, the parties also discussed the new Fulbright program and the enhancement of English language teaching. Additionally, the minister briefed the guests about the results achieved during the transformation of Georgian education system to a more distance learning focused system. The guests have a positive assessment on the steps taken by the Ministry in the field of distance learning.