On 30 November 2017, the ISET Policy Institute hosted a High-Level Education Action Event which was the third in a series of education policy dialogues focused on general education. This time, the event was held in partnership with UNICEF and the World Bank, as well as with key SDG 4 stakeholders to drive a new push for inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all. Through thorough analyses of findings from PISA and TIMSS studies, the event highlighted the growing momentum around the implementation of SDG 4. It attempted to galvanize the efforts of the leading education stakeholders and raise awareness about the obstacles and opportunities for achieving universal access to quality education for all girls and boys.
Many vulnerable families and children in Georgia are excluded from socioeconomic progress, especially children with disabilities (CWD), child victims of violence, children from poor families, and children in conflict-affected areas. Children in Georgia cannot address their individual grievances on violations of their rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child or national laws and seek remedies in the courts.
In general education, students’ learning and behavioral outcomes in both urban and rural areas are still challenged by inadequate school curricula and poor teaching and learning practices. PISA 2015 reports about the positive tendency of growing scores of students in Georgia in science, mathematics, and reading proficiency which is a piece of notable evidence; however, the percentage of low performers in reading (below proficiency Level 2) is still one of the highest among PISA-participating countries and economies (51.7 %, rank 9/69) where only 40.8 % of students demonstrated reading proficiency. The percentage of low performers in science among disadvantaged students in Georgia is among the highest compared to countries and economies participating in PISA (67.9 %, rank 10/68). There is a difference in performance between public and private schools which speaks about existing disparities and inequalities in education for students. Young people (especially out of school children, children with special educational needs and at risk of school dropping out) have limited access to After School Activities and Second Chance Education Programmes to help with learning, improved behavior, and completion of high secondary grades in order to support their lifelong education and transition from schools to labor market in their early adulthood. Furthermore, gender-based violence is not adequately integrated into the education system with the existing low capacity of teachers to differentiate school discipline from the forms of violence.
Through thorough analysis of findings from PISA and TIMSS studies and beyond, ISET-PI, UNICEF, and World Bank high-level SDG Action Event on General Education highlighted the growing momentum around the implementation of SDG 4. It attempted to galvanize the efforts of the leading education stakeholders and to raise awareness about the obstacles and opportunities for achieving universal access to quality education for all girls and boys in Georgia.
More specifically, the event addressed the challenges that young people are facing in accessing and completing inclusive and quality education, in conditions of social inequalities and geographic fragmentation, and outlined and provided evidence-based policy recommendations for enhancing access to education for all girls and boys in Georgia with particular attention to minorities and excluded children.
The event, moderated by Eric Livny, President of ISET and ISET-PI, was attended by Lia Gigauri, the Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Georgia, who briefed the audience with the Ministry’s view and action plans on the topic, representatives of the Ministry of Education, and general education sector stakeholders and international organizations.
Eric Livny covered the main findings of the research done through the partnership in his presentation, which was entitled “Quality and Equity in General Education – challenges and recommendations from PISA, TIMSS and beyond”. Mr. Einar Rull, an analyst from the Innove Foundation of Estonia, then discussed Estonia’s experience regarding PISA.
The event was concluded with group work of the participants, who attempted to plan for improved teaching and learning systems and practices in Georgia.
The outcomes of the event will be included in a policy paper that will be one of the major results of the Education Policy Forum project.