Empowering marginalised communities in Georgia: Innovative inclusive training strategies
The National Centre for Educational Quality Enhancement in Georgia is committed to promoting inclusive education and training for all. In a recent interview with the European Training Foundation (ETF), Deputy Director of the Centre, Kakhaber Eradze, discussed the challenges and initiatives the Centre is working on to ensure equity, inclusion, and diversity in education.
"Inclusion has always been very important in our country due to our special political and geopolitical location," Eradze said.
Georgia’s new National Strategy lists the people who should be addressed, including socially vulnerable people, those living in rural areas, ethnic minorities, internally displaced people, migrants, and people with special educational needs.
During the Cojvid-19 pandemic, Georgia developed e-learning platforms and online resources to support the delivery of vocational education and throughout this period the Centre focused on the important role of technology in ensuring inclusivity in education. It also identified learning outcomes that could be achieved both remotely and in a classroom setting, facilitating continuity in the system after the re-opening of schools.
The private sector's involvement is critical in promoting skills development, relevant to the present technology development of the business. The Centre introduced short-term training and retraining programmes in formal education to address this challenge. Incentives were provided to the private sector to participate in formal education, and the European Quality Assurance system was introduced into the Georgian education and training system.
"ETF's support is crucial in our progress towards innovative, effective and accessible initiatives. We have hosted a peer visit of the ETF Quality Assurance Forum focusing on the quality assurance of training and retraining programmes. Flexibility is attractive, and we have seen a significant increase in the number of short-term training and retraining participants year by year," Eradze said.
The European Year of Skills will inspire further Georgia's initiatives. Eradze noted the similarities between existing problems in Europe and Georgia, such as upskilling and reskilling the workforce. He emphasised the importance of sharing good practices and cooperation between countries, and the Centre has been working towards expanding coverage countrywide and providing proper incentives for institutions to develop or introduce performance-based bonuses in financing.
Looking to the future, Eradze stressed the importance of qualified trainers, performance-based finance bonuses, and skills identification through a national Skills Agency. The Centre’s initiatives and efforts are designed to ensure that everyone has access to high-quality education and training, regardless of their background or circumstances.
"We need to ensure that vocational education is accessible and relevant to the needs of employers and learners alike. This requires close collaboration between the education system and the private sector," Eradze said.
"In addition to ensuring equitable access to quality education, we also recognise that skills are not just acquired through formal education and training. We need to develop flexible certification programmes that can recognise the skills and knowledge gained through non-formal education and training," he added.
Georgia's focus on inclusive education and training sets a positive example for other countries to follow. By participating in initiatives such as the European Year of Skills and continuing to transfer and share best practices through peer learning, training systems can continuously be improved to the benefit of all, including vulnerable groups, and create more equitable and prosperous societies.
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