Primary and Secondary Schools in Georgia

About Primary and Secondary Schools in Georgia

Primary and secondary education in the nation of Georgia is undergoing massive changes. Ever since 2003’s “Rose Revolution,” a peaceful uprising that ousted a corrupt leader and brought the beginnings of true democracy to this small mountainous republic.
Located in the Caucasus Mountains on the borderlands between Russia and the Middle East, Georgians are fiercely independent and the Rose Revolution was in many ways an effort to throw off the remnants of old Soviet oppressions and attitudes. The new government has prioritized putting an end to corruption among educational officials, providing a more comprehensive and up-to-date curriculum in primary and secondary school, and extending the years of compulsory education from 6 years to 9.
Since the Rose Revolution, the new government has unveiled a massive suite of reforms. The first and most dramatic change instituted by the new government was the founding of a national college entrance examination at the end of secondary school. While the exam is not mandatory for all high school graduates (there are vocational secondary schools that are not designed to lead to a college education), they are required for anyone who wants to apply to a university. Before the exam was created, it was typical for Georgian students to bribe their way into college – corrupt officials were the norm, and the prior regime did nothing to curb their greed. Today, students who work hard are rewarded by gaining entrance to college, while those who do not work hard fail their examinations and cannot get a higher degree.  Wealthy students are not benefited by this system, as they were before.
The second dramatic educational change that has taken place in Georgia in recent years is the shift toward teaching English. During its years as a Soviet territory, the Georgian school system was required to teach Russian as a second language, and this practice continued even after independence. Since the Rose Revolution, the emphasis has switched, and now Georgia’s schools teach English instead. This is primarily to be interpreted as a response to changing economic conditions and increasing demand for English-speakers in the global job market, but it is also a subtle expression of Georgians’ collective rejection of Russian influence. In the eyes of many reform-minded Georgians, Russia represents their sad past, while the United States and Europe represent their bright future. The urgent demand for English teachers has brought large numbers of young Americans to this small country to share their language with students.
Georgia’s primary and secondary schools have a long way to go, especially in the area of infrastructure and facilities. Many of the country’s schools are little more than a one-room building with a chalkboard and a few desks – naturally, this makes effective teaching more difficult than it might be with better equipment, visual aids, copiers, and computers. Similarly, Georgia’s roads, electrical grids, and telecommunications networks are severely underdeveloped, and it is crucial that these resources be developed soon. Nonetheless, the shift in attitudes, the end of corruption and the birth of democratic government are all indicators of significant progress in Georgia, and this progress is undoubtedly reflected in its system of primary and secondary education.

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