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The International Online Forum "Education and Innovation - Ensuring Quality Education for All" was organized by the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UNICEF, with the support of the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia.
The meeting was opened by the Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia, Mikheil Chkhenkeli, and the Minister of Education and Research of Estonia, Mailis Reps. Deputy Minister, Ekaterine Dgebuadze also delivered a speech within the forum.
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the education system, the importance of innovation in ensuring the quality of education, and much more was discussed during the forum.
The participants of the forum, representatives of Estonia, Georgia, and UNICEF, shared their best experiences in this field.
Mikheil Chkhenkeli: "I am glad to have the opportunity to emphasize the friendly ties and close partnership between Estonia and Georgia for more than a decade, which is of great importance. Cooperation between the two countries covers almost all areas. Estonia has repeatedly reaffirmed its support for Georgia's European aspirations and territorial integrity. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them. We very much appreciate the reliable friendly connection between our countries.
I would also like to thank UNICEF for its support of the Georgian education sector. UNICEF, Estonia, and Georgia have established strong and fruitful cooperation over the years. We appreciate your efforts to reform and improve the Georgian education system”.
During his address, Mikheil Chkhenkeli also spoke about the introduction of distance learning during the pandemic and noted that the projects implemented by the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia to ensure an uninterrupted education process. According to the Minister, the pandemic enabled the Ministry to turn challenges into opportunities, whilst introducing digital technologies more actively in the learning process.
Mikheil Chkhenkeli spoke about the projects implemented in cooperation between Georgia and Estonia and especially highlighted the ongoing joint project, which provides the revision of the middle school and secondary education curricula in accordance with international experience and best practices.
Furthermore, Deputy Minister Ekaterine Dgebuadze introduced the participants of the forum to the challenges facing the Georgian education system during the pandemic and different, productive ways to solve them. He spoke about the effective measures taken to promote distance learning and stressed that the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia managed to organize the transition to distance learning in the shortest possible time and mobilize all necessary resources. Using a wide range of different mechanisms and tools, the Ministry in its entirety was able to reduce the negative impact of the pandemic on the education system and ensure the continuity of the teaching-learning process.
Additionally, in her speech, the Deputy Minister noted that the Ministry considered electronic and television formats of distance learning as the best alternative to guide the teaching-learning process and began to strengthen these areas. In cooperation with the Georgian Public Broadcaster, the project TV School was created, which offered TV lessons to students of all grades in various subjects. The project admittedly solved the problem of access to education.
Moreover, Ekaterine Dgebuadze spoke in detail about other projects implemented by the Ministry. The project "Web School", which was created specifically for entrants and helped them prepare for the Unified National Examinations. Additionally, the project "i-School", an online bank of assignments in 8 different subjects was launched. The major tool for distance learning – Microsoft Teams, was localized and translated into Georgian. elibrary.emis.ge was also launched – an electronic library, where textbooks certified by the Ministry were located; Georgian Alternative Platform - Feedc Edu, through which students and teachers have the opportunity to share assignments, upload / download files and conduct group lessons; Silkschool – open source and free video tutorials for students; and finally, Khan Academy - Free online courses and lessons for students, teachers and parents in 40 languages, including Georgian.
"Education and Innovation - Ensuring the Delivery of Quality Education for All" was held by Georgia and Estonia at the UN High Level Political Forum, within the scope of the submission of voluntary national reports on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).