The 2005 Law of Georgia on General Education defines distance learning as “learning and teaching process, or a part of it organised by a general education institution for the purpose of receiving general education at a general education institution and/or studying a subject/group of subjects under the National Curriculum, based on Information and Communication Technologies. For the implementation of distance learning it shall be necessary to use appropriate approaches and methods for planning of the curriculum, organisation and administration of the learning and teaching process”. This law also defines e-learning as “an approach to learning that does not require for the student and teaching staff to be simultaneously at the same place. E-learning based on modern ICT is organised for residents of Georgia to acquire a qualification on the basis of higher education programmes. Appropriate methods and technologies are required for planning the curriculum and organising and managing academic activities within e-learning”. 1The term "EdTech" is not defined in education laws, policies, plans, strategies.
Constitution and laws: The 1995 Constitution of Georgia guarantees the right to education and academic freedom (Article 27), as well as the right to freedom of the Internet (Article 17). The realization of these rights is reflected in the legislation of Georgia on education, which, depending on the purpose of the regulation, was filled with the following documents related to technologies:
The 2005 Law on General Education regulates the conditions for carrying out general educational activities. Norms on the regulations of educational processes based on information and communication technologies were included in 2018-2021.
The 2010 Law on Education Quality Improvement defines the legal basis for the mechanisms facilitating education quality improvement.
The 2004 Law on Higher Education regulates the process of carrying out educational, and scientific research activities by higher education institutions in Georgia.
The 2018 Law on Vocational Education aims to develop a vocational education system for Georgia, define state policy in the field of vocational education and facilitate its implementation.
The Law defines the legal framework of a vocational education system, establishes the principles of the management of the vocational education system and the legal grounds for carrying out the activities in the field of vocational education, and regulates other key issues related to the field of vocational education.
The 1994 Law of Georgia on Science, Technology and their Development forms a legal basis for the state policy that is a precondition for the intellectual and technological progress and welfare of the country.
Policies, plans and strategies: Draft policy documents and strategies were developed with the active involvement of international and local experts, structural units of the Ministry and other interested parties within the framework of the EU Public Administration Project (PAR) and the World Bank’s Programme on Innovation Inclusive Education and Quality.
The 2017-2021 Unified Strategy of Education and Science of Georgia envisages the modernization of the system of science, technology and innovation for raising the quality of general education and access to vocational education.
The 2022-2030 Unified National Strategy of Education and Science of Georgia aims to strengthen the system of innovations and technologies in the educational and research process and to improve the quality and availability of data related to the system of education and science within the framework of the implemented reforms, and.
Action plans to achieve the goals of these strategies include, among others, measures to develop digital literacy and media literacy skills.
Digital competency frameworks: In 2019, to ensure better compatibility with international standards (ISCED-F 2013), a new qualifications framework was introduced, including ICT-related qualifications as an independent group. Previously, they were included in the engineering section.
The Order of the Minister of Education and Science of Georgia N1014 dated November 21, 2008 "On the approval of the teacher professional standard" states that the Professional Standard for Teachers implies the use of ICT and hardware (computer, mobile phone) for demonstrating various types of records, recording audio, video and photo files of the achieved creative results, searching for resources, etc. In the Standard, group activity with the use of ICT was included in the list of teaching methods.
Changes occurred as a result of COVID-19: The 2020 Decree of the President of Georgia “On Measures to be Implemented in connection with the Declaration of a State of Emergency throughout the Whole Territory of Georgia” empowered the Government of Georgia to set rules different from those established by the laws “On General Education”, “On Vocational Education”, “On Special Vocational Education”, and “On Higher Education”.
2.2.1. Technology infrastructure and digital capacity of schools
Electricity: On October 14, 2016, Georgia has signed the protocol on the “Accession of Georgia to the Treaty Establishing the Energy Community”. The 2019 Law of Georgia on Energy and Water Supply ensures the establishment of a legal framework for the uninterrupted supply of electricity at defined quality standards for the benefit of all categories of customers in Georgia. The 2019 Law of Georgia on Promoting the Generation and Consumption of Energy from Renewable Sources creates legal grounds for the encouragement, promotion and consumption of energy received from renewable sources. By the Ministry of Economy of Georgia, a number of projects are under consideration that will allow to remedy problems in the transmission network, as well as integration of new PPs into the system and strengthen Georgia’s transit capability (see Security of Supply Statement in Electricity Sector 2021).
Computers and devices: There are more than 40K computers (Laptops, Desctops and All-in-one PCs) under the support of all 2086 public schools. Also, within the framework of the "My First Computer" program, netbooks are given to first graders in public schools every year as a gift that allows students to explore the digital world and enrich their learning experiences (approx. more than 50 000 every year).
BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), or the “Digital School – Georgia” project is implemented by the Ministry Education of Georgia in close cooperation with the Tallinn University under financial support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia. The project has been implemented in a number of public and private schools since 2019.
Internet connectivity: The 1995 Constitution of Georgia guarantees the right to freedom of the Internet (Article 17). The National Broadband Development Strategy for 2020-2025 and its Action Plan allow for the large-scale measures on providing Georgian citizens with access to the Internet. Within the Action Plan, the Log-in Georgia project was developed by the World Bank in order to support the development of broadband networks in Georgia. The project envisages building optical networks in about 1,000 settlements, including high-mountain villages, to let 500,000 people benefit from it. Another project worth mentioning is “Charte”, transparent social project aimed to equip more than a thousand students with computers through crowdfunding.
100% of public schools are connected to the Internet and connected to the unified educational network. 64% of schools are provided with high-bandwidth optical channels (50-100 Mb), and in the case of the rest of the schools, where the connection is provided by radio technology (10-30 Mb) the connection speed is: 10-30 Mb. As of 2023, corporate standard wireless (Wi-Fi) networks had been installed in 500 public schools.
2.2.2. Technology and learning environments
In the 2005 Law on General Education of June 12, 2020, with amendments and additions, distance learning is regarded as a temporary measure to be taken by the decision of the Minister of Education and Science in case of temporary restrictions due to various contagious diseases in the school/settlement/municipality/country, limitations caused by adverse weather/extreme conditions or other circumstances. In case the distance mode of learning comes into force, students should compulsorily attend online lessons. If a student lack appropriate technical tools (devices and/or Internet access), the class teacher provides this information to the school head, discusses the available opportunities with a group of teachers and plans alternative measures for the student to get included in the learning process.
The 2004 Law of Georgia on Higher Education stipulates the following: Article 474 – E-learning:
- E-learning shall imply carrying out the study process through the Learning Management System (LMS). The LMS is an internet-based software that is necessary for organising and managing the study process based on information and communication technologies, for delivering learning materials, providing student-to-student communication and/or communication with the personnel of a higher education institution, for testing, consultation, and monitoring of students' progress, and other purposes.
- E-learning is carried out through asynchronous and/or synchronous communication. In asynchronous communication, a sender and a receiver of information do not communicate simultaneously, while synchronous means simultaneous communication between a sender and a receiver.
- An e-learning programme shall be prepared in accordance with the requirements determined for a higher education programme under this Law. After completing an e-learning programme a person shall be granted an appropriate qualification and a document certifying such qualification.
- Students may be admitted to an e-learning programme only during the first and second levels of higher academic education as provided for by Chapter VIII of this Law.
In 2020, following the 2020 Decree of the President of Georgia “On Measures to be Implemented in connection with the Declaration of a State of Emergency throughout the Whole Territory of Georgia”, the Ministry of Education and Science with the support of Microsoft, USAID, World Bank and UNICEF opened virtual classrooms in all public schools; relevant technical and financial support was provided in equipping schools with necessary ICT tools.
More than 600 000 user profiles have been created for students and teachers in order to support online teaching.
Virtual classrooms for all school classes and subjects were created in Microsoft Teams; During the pandemic, the teachers were trained in the Minecraft Education Edition, webinars on the use of Microsoft products, were held.Also, webinars were held in the direction of cyber hygiene, the target audience of which was students, parents and teachers.
Also, the following activities were carried out:
- Teams was localized in the Georgian language.
- In cooperation with Internet providers, students and teachers could purchase a mobile Internet package at a discounted price (mobile.emis.ge).
The Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia, jointly with the Education Management Information System (EMIS) developed a series of new digital educational resources (games and puzzles) within the General Education reform project “New School Model”: Interactive alphabet; word puzzles; scrabbles and fun math games. A public digital learning platform, EL.ge, ensures easy access of educational resources to all beneficiaries, irrespective of their geographical location or socioeconomic background.
Within the iSchool project, a collection of homework assignments and learning aids was created for students of grades 1 to 12 in various subjects and downloaded on the electronic library portal. Interactive Georgian-language Chat Bot and electronic magazine are being integrated into Microsoft Teams.
A “catch-up curriculum” ensured that educational gaps were eliminated for students who were left behind and for the vulnerable groups of learners. The Teleschool project created in cooperation with the Public Broadcaster and the Ministry of Education and Science was a vivid example of such measures. The Webschool project provided webinars for prospective university students. Within the iSchool project, a collection of homework assignments and learning aids was created for students of grades 1 to 12 in various subjects and downloaded on the electronic library portal. Interactive Georgian-language Chat Bot and electronic magazine are being integrated into Microsoft Teams.
Together with EL.GE and e-magazine, LSU Education Management Information System develops various e-educational resources such as: "Interactive Alphabet", "Fun Math", "Educational Chatbots for Students".
During the pandemic the analysis was made and the components of VET programs were identified that could be introduced in distance learning. Some of the institutions still use distance learning for such components/learning outcomes.
To increase the accessibility of the VET provision and support e-learning processes, ADB supported “Modern Skills for Better Jobs Sector Development Programme” is being implemented, which envisages the development of a Learning Management System (LMS). In addition, the technical specifications and LMS prototype were developed.
The New National Curriculum for 2018-2024 envisages that computer technologies can be taught as an independent mandatory subject, as an optional subject, or can be integrated into other disciplines. The 2022-2032 Unified national strategy of education and science of Georgia states that cooperation in the fields of STEM between universities and schools will be strengthened to ensure the improvement of the quality of STEM education and reach the percentage of women beneficiaries of the STEM programs for at least 30%.
To ensure digital transformation in VET sector, teaching of digital skills are integrated into both curricular and extracurricular programs. As digital skills are considered one of the eight key competencies for Lifelong Learning, VET programs embed them into all general and professional subject curricula. VET programs also include a mandatory computer literacy course.
“The Concept and Mechanisms for Incorporation of Digital and Blended Learning into VET institutions” has been developed, which covers the systemic challenges and opportunities and proposes strategic approaches to digital transformation and digital competencies. All VET institutions are equipped with computers in accordance with the number of students, which is regulated by the 5th standard of authorization in terms of material, financial and ICT resources.
Creating a learning environment and effectively teaching the subject requires the teacher to use information and communication technologies. In order to ensure this standard, since 2017, teacher professional training includes developing computer skills according to the “Scheme of starting teacher activity, professional development and career advancement”. Within the framework of the Scheme, the main functions of assessment and professional development related to the teaching profession are delegated to the school. The Ministry of Education systematically conducts training for teachers, including for teachers of subjects included in the subject group of technologies.
More than 25,000 teachers participate annually in state-sponsored training in such areas as subject modules, interactive learning, diverse assessment and teaching strategies, information technology, inclusive education, etc. According to the 2020 changes in the teacher's professional standard, the teacher's ICT competence framework was developed. The use of ICT and consideration of the principles of digital citizenship becomes an indicator of the Standard.
In order to promote digital skills among target groups (teachers and school administration) National Center for Teacher Professional Development (TPDC) under the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia, aims to improve the quality of teaching and learning in schools. The strategic goal is to equip teachers and school administration with the appropriate IT skills and to enable them to establish a digital culture in schools and to develop 21-st century relevant competencies among students. For that purpose, TPDC offers trainings to school community, that incorporate the following topics: media literacy, digital citizenship, cyber-safety, guided online games, digital economy and artificial intelligence. The trainings are offered not only to ICT teachers, but, digital technologies are also integrated with subject modules offered to various subject teachers.
TPDC also implements the following programs: “Science Support (STEM)” Program, Democratic Culture, Human Rights Education and School Network (eTwinning) Empowerment programme, Education E-house and Information-Educational Resources Program.
The special training module, which focuses on the introduction of innovative teaching and application of digital technologies in VET training has been elaborated. In 2022-2023 about 30% of VET teachers (about 600 Teachers) were trained in the direction of pedagogical skills which inter alia includes blended learning (e.g. flipped classroom model), innovative teaching methods and using digital resources.
In order to guide VET teachers in the process of integrating technology-enriched mechanisms in teaching the Skills Agency with the support of the European Union Technical Assistance, has elaborated a tool pack comprising innovative teaching methodologies adapted for VET training.
According to the 2021-2024 State Program “For the construction of a European state”, the priority of the Georgian government in cooperation with the European Union in the field of security and defence, as well as deepening sectoral integration. This document envisages raising the level of knowledge of teachers in the field of cyber security and conducting training on relevant issues. TPDC offers 2 trainings regarding the subject : "Prevention of Cyberbullying with the Involvement of School Community” and "Disinformation as a Challenge - Development of Critical Thinking in Schools".
The 2021-2024 National Cyber Security Strategy and its Action Plan envisage the implementation of the cyber security policy including the development of students’ skills to navigate safely in cyberspace. Cybersecurity training for students and teachers involve courses on digital citizenship, cybercrime, cyberbullying, personal data protection and the basics of media literacy in cyberspace.
2.4.1. Data privacy
General principles of data protection defined by the 2012 Law of Georgia on Information Security aimed to promote the efficient and effective maintenance of information security. The Law defines rights and responsibilities for public and private sectors in the field of information security maintenance and identifies the mechanisms for exercising state control over the implementation of information security policy.
The Data Exchange Agency develops standards for the facilitation and coordination of the functioning of information technologies (systems) and implements information security policy. The Agency should identify data storage and data provision standards, establish a unified electronic document exchange system and increase the efficiency of government digital services.
Law of Georgia on Personal Data Protection is intended to ensure the protection of human rights and freedoms, including the right to privacy, in the course of personal data processing within the territory of Georgia.
2.4.2. Online abuse and cyberbullying
UNICEF, the Ministry of Education of Georgia, the National Communication Commission and the Personal Data Protection Agency are involved in the prevention of Internet abuse and cyberbullying in schools. With the support of the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia (MoES), the National Communications Commission, the Institute of Public Affairs of Georgia, the Office of the Personal Data Protection Inspector, and representatives of Internet Society-Georgia systematically conduct training for students in the school regarding safe Internet.
The Ministry of Education and Science coordinates and manages the implementation of technologies in the education system presenting proposals for state policy in the field of science and technology to the Government of Georgia for approval and ensuring its implementation.
The National Centre for Education Quality Enhancement (NCEQE) under the umbrella of the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia has the following key functions: Development Standards and Procedures of Authorization and Accreditation; External Quality Assurance of Early and Preschool, General, Vocational Education and Higher Education; Management and Development of National Qualifications Framework; Elaborates the recommendations, carries out the pilot/development-oriented reviews, organizes training, holds seminars and conferences; recognizes the foreign education and confirms authenticity of educational documents issued in Georgia.
The Education Management Information System (EMIS) under MoES is involved in creating and advancing information management systems, guaranteeing access to ICT and developing the necessary infrastructure. EMIS takes on the responsibility of installing high-speed fiber optic and Wi-Fi internet connections in schools, ensuring uninterrupted connectivity. It provides operational processes, supported by digital technology, that enable the collection, aggregation, analysis, and use of data and information in education, including for management and administration, planning, policy formulation, monitoring, and evaluation at all levels, from Early Childhood to Higher Education.
In order to support digital transformation of education, the use of IT tools is integrated with a variety of training modules offered by TPDC, where the focus is on teaching quality IT education at all levels.
Georgia’s National Communications Commission is a permanent national regulatory body established to define the main directions of national policy in the field of electronic communications. Since 2017, on the basis of the Law on Electronic Communications, the Commission has been assigned the function of developing media literacy.
In order to prepare the qualified workforce capable to cope with competitive pressure and market forces, in 2021, the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia and the Georgian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in public-private partnership framework jointly established the Skills Agency.
The Skills Agency represents both, the government and the business, so the responsibility on decisions to be made is shared and co-owned by the stakeholders. The goal of the Skills Agency is to modernize and transform vocational education and training system in Skills Eco-system through the involvement of Sectoral Skills Organizations (SSOs), which will be taking over the responsibility on sector skills policy development.
- to ensure the organisation of the educational process adapted to the abilities of students with special educational needs, involving tutors, subject teachers, special teachers and, if necessary, additional specialists in inclusive school education
- to protect personal data and fulfil legislative requirements for cyber security
- to allocate appropriate space for teachers to conduct remote lessons in case they are unable to connect from home or do not have appropriate technical equipment/Internet access
- to use all the opportunities available, so that no student is excluded from distance learning, or falls behind his/her classmates in learning
- to systematically track students' attendance at remote classes according to the rules established by the Ministry.
School authorities are responsible for planning the distance learning process taking into account the resources of the school, and the interests and abilities of each student. According to the internal regulations of some schools, the use of mobile phones during the educational process is prohibited. Some schools allow cell phone use as long as it does not interfere with the learning process. There is no national law in this regard.
This country profile was commissioned by UNESCO IITE and developed by Ketevan Tsatsanashvili. It was reviewed by Ana Baramia, Head of Division for EU Integration and Relations with International Organizations.