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The Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia is actively working on the development of a unified strategy and action plan for education and science for 2022-2032 under the leadership of Minister Mikheil Chkhenkeli. International and local experts from the European Union and the World Bank are actively involved in this process.
In order to discuss the Education and Science Strategy and Action Plan, Mikheil Chkhenkeli held a working meeting with Tibor Draskovic, Head of the EU Project "Support to Public Governance Reform in Georgia", Janna Pukka, Leading Education Expert, and Mark Van Den Muisenberg, Policy Planning Expert.
The Minister thanked the EU experts for their involvement in the process of creating the main policy document of the Georgian education system, for their cooperation and sharing of European experience.
Mikheil Chkhenkeli noted that conceptual reforms are underway at all levels of the education system. The coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on this process, with challenges that have given rise to new opportunities. It was during this period that information and communication technologies were actively introduced in the educational process, products were created that became an integral part of the education system, for example, the project "TV School" and numerous auxiliary electronic resources. According to the Minister, it was precisely this process the Georgian education system was significantly supported by international partners.
At the meeting, the parties discussed the key issues that form the basis of a successful general education system, including qualified teachers, textbooks that meet modern standards, and well-maintained infrastructure. Mikheil Chkhenkeli noted that the education strategy for 2022-2032 will be focused on strengthening and developing these components. The Minister also touched upon the process of introducing the "Minecraft Education Edition" to public schools, which will improve the teaching-learning methodology and enable young people to receive education relevant to the 21st century.
The parties also discussed the steps to be taken for the development of higher education and science, talked about the development of a new model of higher education funding, which will enable state universities to plan strategic development directions, modernize educational programs and training laboratories, fund scientific research and refine research.
The sides also discussed the main mega-project of the country, the development of Kutaisi International University, which will be established as a regional hub of education. The Minister noted that the author of the idea and concept of the university is Mr. Bidzina Ivanishvili. It was as a result of his and his family's extremely important contribution that a world-wide academic and scientific-research space emerged in the country.
Furthermore, Mikheil Chkhenkeli spoke about the approaches that lead to the internationalization of Kutaisi International University. In particular, academic programs are created in collaboration with a leading university in a particular field. Foreign professors are involved in the academic life of the university together with their Georgian peers.
Moreover, the Minister noted that a Hadron Therapy Center will be established on the premises of the University, where world-class research will be conducted. Numerous foreign scientists have already expressed their desire to conduct scientific research in the field of oncology and proton therapy together with Georgian specialists. This process will begin with the creation of two cyclotrons, which are manufactured and assembled by the world's leading manufacturer of cancer proton therapy equipment (IBA). The minister stressed that one cyclotron will only be used to treat tumours, while the other will be used for scientific research. The project is fully funded by the International Charity Fund "Cartu".
It should be noted that for the sake of transparency in the development of the Education and Science Strategy of Georgia for 2022-2032 and the two-year action plan, an inter-agency council, inter-agency commission, sectoral working groups have been established, and international or local organizations involved in the education system are actively communicating. After the development of the initial version, the draft document will be made public, and the opinions or remarks of all interested parties will be taken into account as much as possible. The process of developing and approving a new long-term strategy will be completed in 2021.