Innovative teaching in Georgia connects children with their futures
Georgian and Estonian Governments, and UNICEF to build a highly skilled national teaching workforce and improve quality of education in Georgia.
The hands of every single child in the classroom shoot up in the air. The young students want their teacher to give them a turn to share their opinions. And after the teacher enthusiastically lets everyone have a say, she takes three green envelopes from her drawer - inside them are the assignments for today.
Seated behind white curved tables, with a large computer screen on each, the 4th graders are asked to form small groups. The assignment is for each group to create a unique story based on the story discussed at the beginning of class, using a computer programme especially designed for educational purposes.
Such is the scene at School No.150, one of 15 schools in Georgia where a partnership between the Governments of Georgia and Estonia, and UNICEF has introduced innovative education methodologies.
UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, Afshan Khan, visiting the school earlier this month, pointed to the importance of this learning methodology. “Interactive learning through digital technology teaches young children 21st century problem-solving skills,” she said.”
"Education programmes like these, leveraging the best that technology has to offer, are preparing the students for the future – a digital future."
And it seems that the students at school No.150 are more than happy to be in such an environment.
Says Nika, “I think the lessons have become more fun and because we enjoy our classes more, the lessons have become more productive.” The fifth grader adds that he also enjoys working with the computer programmes during classes. Although the higher grades do not have specific digital programmes designed for them, they do have to use digital resources for several different classes.
There are plans to expand the use of the new methodologies beyond the 15 schools where they are being piloted. The approach is the result of a three-year partnership between the Georgian and Estonian Governments, and UNICEF to build a highly skilled national teaching workforce and improve quality of education in Georgia. It focuses on modernizing teaching methods, so that the children have the knowledge and skills to be successful in the 21st century.
"Education is a fundamental part of economic development, and we know that from experience in Estonia"
“Education matters most in the development of a country,” says Kai Kaarelson, Estonia’s Ambassador to Georgia. “Education is a fundamental part of economic development, and we know that from experience in Estonia.”
In addition to harnessing an innovative teaching methodology, the initiative in Georgia is an example of how different organizations from the public and development sectors can together create opportunities through a collaboration involving finances, expertise, human resources, and infrastructure.
Wrapping up her visit to the school, Ms. Khan said she found the students being creative, inspired and engaged by the learning method. “Digital skills are critical, but so are problem-solving skills, the skills to dream, to have fun with learning, and to understand that learning can build new opportunities,” she added. “I hope to see this programme rolled-out for all schools in Georgia.”