Teach and Learn with Georgia one year on
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, August 31
Native English speaker teachers continue to arrive within the frames of the educational program “Teach and Learn with Georgia”. The latest wave arrived in the country on August 30, the Ministry of Education reports.
Teachers from the USA, Canada, Poland, UK, Norway, India, Ireland, Philippines, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand will work in the public schools of Guria, Samegrelo, Kakheti, Shida Kartli, Kvemo Kartli, Adjara and Tbilisi.
“The volunteers, who arrived to Georgia, have qualifications and experience in working for such programs as TLG, and the project which has a great level of interest in many counties of the world, will continue from the new academic year, “the Ministry states.
The attitude of the authorities and certain parts of the society, regarding the project is extremely positive. According to them, when the English language is dominant in the world and the main source of getting information in almost all fields, it is very important for Georgians to know the language and refine their language skills with native speakers of English. The attitude is not shared by the some opposition forces, which state that it is “useless spending of money, which would bring no real outcomes “ and they advise the Government to engaged with more important projects in this field, like “ long term projects, sending Georgian English teachers abroad to make them better qualified.”
As for those foreigners who arrive in the country for this project, they seem happy with their job in the main. According to them, it is a new experience for them and they are ready to use their abilities to teach Georgian pupils. At the same time, they seem to be fascinated with Georgian traditions, culture, food and places and can learn a lot of things from Georgians. What is also important is that they are ready “to share their positive experience towards Georgia with others from their countries,“ which , according to our authorities , “significantly increase the interest towards Georgia and it will be positive for the economy, tourism and some other directions.” However, not all the foreign teachers in Georgia would leave the country with positive memories as some are prepared to speak critically about their experience without voicing their identities . One such foreign teacher told the Messenger confidentially ,”currently the project is useless, for the first time appropriate education reform must be carried out in your country and only after this such projects could be undertaken, “ he stated mentioning that “ I should not complain as I am nicely paid, however Georgian pupils who are less disciplined got nothing serious from the project.”
Georgian analysts think that English language is essential, and some think the authorities have additional motivation. As analyst Gia Khukhashvili stated for The Messenger, the authorities move towards the English language can be regarded as a language war against Russia. According to him the fact that the English language is important as it is the main language of information in the modern epoch which is clear for everyone and in some respects the Governmental policy concerning the issue is understandable. However there is no need for such propaganda and to bring the language inside the country forcibly," All that the authorities are doing regarding English reminds me of the Soviet period, when the soviet authorities were establishing Russian violently inside Georgia. I have the impression that all that is being said and done concerning English by the authorities equates to a language war with Russia, which is a short sighted and absurd policy, “the analyst stated and underlined that first of all, the Georgian language presents a problem inside the country and it should be the main priority of the current authorities.
The project “Teach and Learn with Georgia” has been running for a year in which native English speaking teachers teach English together with local teachers at secondary schools of Georgia.