Minister announces new School Calendar
By Salome Modebadze
Tuesday, August 24
The Minister of Education and Science of Georgia Dimitri Shashkin held a special briefing on August 23 in which he announced that the school year will start in Georgia from September 15 every year. Providing detailed information about the changes to the educational system, the Minister stressed the need to set a fixed date for the official start of the school year in the country. “From 2010, the academic year in public schools will begin on September 15 and end on June 15, except for the 1st and 12th formers, who will finish their classes on May 20,” explained the Minister. “The school year will be divided into two semesters: the first semester will end on December 24 and it will be followed by long winter holiday, which will end on January 20. In addition the moving Easter break will begin on Great Thursday [in Easter week] and last until the following Wednesday,” Shashkin added.
In his detailed explanations about his decision, the Minister highlighted that the new plan is being introduced following lengthy consultations with teachers, parents and pupils to enable them to arrange their vacations and holidays properly and have enough time to prepare for the new studying process. “The authorised start of the year is over, but the Ministry will also make some logistic changes concerning the new subjects and the computerisation of schools, which will be announced later,” concluded Shashkin.
On the question of support programs for socially vulnerable families, the Minister stressed that each and every child from such families will be fully provided with all the necessary books despite their age. “All children should have an opportunity to study…So the Government of Georgia is launching a sensational project by distributing books to all socially unprotected families for free,” announced the Minister. He also pointed out that the 1st formers of several Tbilisi, Batumi, Zugdidi, Tserovani and Kutaisi schools will also be given mini-laptops connected in one unique network connecting children throughout Georgia, as initiated by President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili earlier this year. The laptop will provide its owner with all the information for the curriculum and will save families from wasting money on buying a variety of books for their children. “This will be a pilot project,” explained the Minister, “but we will provide all the first-graders with similar computers from the next school year.”