The third international conference: Second Language Teaching/Acquisition in the Context of Multilingual Education was held at Tbilisi State University.
The conference was funded by Shota Rustaveli National Science Foundation and was held jointly with Center for Civil Integration and Inter-ethnic Relations (CCIIR), Tbilisi State University (TSU) and University of Tartu (UT).
The aim of the conference was to consider and share the main concepts and achievements in addition to approaches and strategies of second language teaching within the context of multilingual education.
Apart from Georgian higher education institutions, 22 universities worldwide from 16 different countries also participated in the conference. Invited experts shared their experience and the conceptual approaches in the field of multilingual education. Georgian specialists, on the other hand, discussed the experimental projects and activities that are already undergoing or are currently being conducted in higher education institutions or at the schools of regions which are compactly settled by ethnic minorities.
In addition, within the conference thematic workshops for students were conducted by Georgian and foreign specialists.
Multilingual education is a complex system refers to the use of two or more languages as mediums of instruction in primary education. It is becoming more and more popular in number of European countries and in the USA. Typically MLE programs are situated in developing countries where speakers of minority languages tend to be disadvantaged in the mainstream education system. It is worth mentioning that, today the development/introduction of key principles and approaches of multilingual education is one of the main priority directions of Georgian education policy and furthermore, is especially important and sensitive in ethnic minority regions of Georgia.
Workshop sessions within PITA program:
Partner universities of ongoing PITA program participated in 2-day workshop, where report of the activities implemented in the framework of the university cooperation platform for higher education institutions implementing One Year Georgian Language Program were presented. Issues regarding the accreditation of One Year Georgian Language Preparatory Program for ethnic minorities, planning joint civil affairs activities, introducing diversity into the higher education workforce and into teaching and learning processes were also discussed at the meetings.
In addition, newly launched web platform uninet.ge was presented during workshop. It allows program staff and the academic personnel of member universities to cooperate online on university and program level and share experience.
The following universities are currently engaged in PITA program: TSU, ILIA UNI, Medical and Technical State Universities, Gori, Kutaisi, Batumi, Telavi and Samtskhe-Javakheti State Universities.
"Promoting Integration, Tolerance and Awareness Program” [PITA] is being implemented since 2015 by UNAG with financial support of USAID.
Within the framework of PITA program CCIIR works on one of the components, which envisages professional development of faculty members and administrative staff of One Year Georgian Language Preparatory Program in TSU. As the program targets to ethnic minority students, it is very important that diversity issues be reflected in program curriculum. That is why workshop was organized to discuss the views of program staff on how to improve teaching-learning process, how to integrate research methods into instructional process, how to identify student needs and most importantly how to manage diversity in the academic environment and establish effective cooperation between all academic personnel and administrative staff.
In the framework of the program, CCIIR for the third time already, campaigned to promote the recruitment process of non-Georgian school leavers who are willing to continue their studies at higher education institutions. As always, the aim of these face to face meetings is to provide the target groups with detailed information about "Quota System in Georgia" introduced at higher education institutions by Ministry of Education of Georgia in the framework of "an Affirmative Action Policy” towards ethnic minority entrants. Through the quota system non-Georgian university entrants can take exam on their native language only in general skills. Upon passing the threshold, they become students of one-year Georgian language program (1+4 program) and pursue studying at BA level (after completing the program - accumulating 60 credits). The implementation of the policy is one of the major instruments to promote equality and increase access to higher education at Georgian state universities. Recruiting campaign for non-Georgian school leavers was held in Bolnisi, Dmanisi, Tsalka, Sagarejo, Gardabani, Ninotsminda and Akhalkalaki districts.
Furthermore, in 2018 informational campaign was launched in order to support accessibility of higher and vocational education for ethnic minority youth. The mobile group of students of TSU and ILIA State Universities were well prepared to conduct informational meetings in non-Georgian schools in different villages of Kakheti, Kvemo Kartli and Samtskhe-Javakheti regions.
By providing ethnic minority youth with detailed information about 1+4 program, PITA program, vocational education and internship opportunities available for them, the campaign will also greatly contribute to the recruitment process of students on One Year Georgian Language Preparatory program at Georgian state universities.
The initiative was supported by State Ministry for Reconciliation and Civic Equality of Georgia, CCIIR and PITA program.
The project "Prepare for Diversity and Develop Tolerance Among the Youth of Georgia" (DTYG) is being implemented with the financial support of OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities. It aims at supporting the process of successful social inclusion and civil integration of ethnic minority students through educational interventions. At the same time, facilitate the dialogue between the Armenian, Azeri and Georgian youth while building their capacity and providing constructive space for meaningful interaction.
A number of Project Partner Workshops took place in 2018 in the framework of this project. The issues regarding the development of the course Diversity and Tolerance expected to be integrated into the one-year Georgian Language Program frame and BA degree programs in target universities were discussed among the workshop participants.
During another cycle of meetups the representatives of project partner universities mainly discussed about the accreditation of one-year Georgian language preparatory programs as well as BA course of Tolerance and Diversity in targeted universities, effective CLIL teaching techniques and planning thematic activities.
Besides, recently developed Teacher's Guide for the course of Tolerance and Diversity was introduced to the participants. The aim of the course is to raise students' awareness about theoretical and practical issues regarding tolerance and diversity, life of different ethno-cultural, religious or other groups in Georgia, the challenges and positive examples of cohabitation, in addition, basic characteristics of modern Georgian society. Furthermore, the course objective is to familiarize students with some existing challenges with this regard and the ways to address them properly.
First target group of beneficiaries who participate in the project and are expected to have bilingual teaching capacity : competitively selected 7 preschool institutions (kindergartens) from Kvemo Kartli and Samtskhe-Javakheti regions.
Ana Golubeva, invited trainer and project partner shared the experience of best bilingual education practices on the example of Russian-Estonian kindergartens and discussed how important it is that ethnic minorities start learning state language on preschool level. In addition, issues regarding the integration of modern technologies in teaching/learning processes, the importance of communication with parents, various interesting activities for children engagement etc. were discussed during the sessions. Totally 20 preschool representatives including teachers/tutors, directors and managers from the following targeted kindergartens: Kindergarten #4 of Gardabani, #4 of Marneuli, #1 of Akhalkalaki, Kindergarten of village Tskaltbila (Akhaltsikhe district), Kindergarten of village Shulaveri (Marneuli district), Kindergarten of village Khizilajlo (Marneuli district), "Tsitsernaki", kindergarten of Ninotsmimda participated in training sessions.
Another intensive training sessions were delivered by Ana Golubeva for the representatives of ethnic minority kindergartens. Trainings mainly aimed at discussing the strategies and approaches for development of language competences in ethnic minority children. Enhancing state language as well as their native language, on the other hand, provides raising quality and efficiency of early childhood development.
This phase of the project envisages to enhance preschool education in targeted regions through implementing bilingual education program.
Second target group of beneficiaries who participate in the project and are expected to have bilingual teaching capacity are 20 pilot schools from Kvemo Kartli, Samtskhe-Javakheti and Kakheti regions, selected through a competitive process in close cooperation with the Ministry of Education of Georgia.
CCIIR started implementing the second phase of the project "Integration of Society through Multilingual Education" (ISME), which means that apart from kindergartens, ethnic minority public schools got involved in the project in order to implement bilingual education programs in their schools. Prior to the selection, CCIIR carried out informational meetings in 9 municipalities of Kvemo Kartli, Samtskhe-Javakheti and Kakheti for the representatives of targeted schools providing them with detailed information about the project, selection process and criteria.
Kickoff meetings - the first time when the representatives of 20 pilot schools met
This phase of the project enables each target school to develop bilingual education model so that ethnic minority school children have the opportunity to get bilingual education in Georgian and their native languages.
During each training session school principals, Georgian language and primary grade teachers discussed about the challenges, opportunities and needs existing in their respective communities and schools in order to implement bilingual model of instruction.
Development of relevant materials for content and language integrated learning as well as development of monitoring and evaluation instruments for bilingual schools are planned to be accomplished.
Several workshops for the capacity building of non-Georgians primary grade teachers and school principals continued further and were conducted by Tamar Jakeli and Despine Koiava from the Ministry of Education of Georgia and Anna Golubeva, education expert. The main topics addressed: understanding basics of pedagogy through constructive principles; overview the educational recourse "Discover World in Georgian Language" for effective CLIL teaching; basics of Content and Language Integrated Learning: from Theory to Collaborative Practice; provide the participants with the necessary knowledge and practical experience to implement the CLIL methodology in their everyday teaching practice.
In December, in the framework of the project "Integration of Society through Multilingual Education" (ISME) CCIIR implemented the baseline research in 58 non-Georgian schools (including 20 pilot ones) in Kvemo Kartli, Samtskhe-Javakheti and Kakheti regions. Approximately 700 school students of 3rd and 4th grades participated in research. They were tested in four subjects: Native Azeri and Armenian languages, Georgian language and Natural sciences. The pre-tests which were developed by experts, enables us to identify the level of bilingual education in pilot as well as other ethnic minority schools not involved in the project. Afterwards the research aims at comparing these results to the post-test results. By doing so, we can analyse the progress and outcomes of bilingual model of instruction in target schools in contrast with other non-pilot schools and eventually analyse whether project objectives have been met.
The project "Youth Empowerment through Living Values" is being implemented with the financial support of European Commission and GIZ Eastern Partnership Territorial Cooperation Programme by three project partner organizations: Center for Civil Integration and Inter-ethnic Relations (CCIIR), The Union of the Azerbaijan Women of Georgia (UAWG) and “TAMAS” Regional Development Public Union in Azerbaijan.
The project aims to empower young people living in cross-border regions of Georgia and Azerbaijan for positive social changes and meaningful cooperation.
In the framework of the project 20 Life Value school-based centers were established in targeted cities and rural schools in the following districts: Marneuli, Dmanisi, Sagarejo, Ganja, Giogoli, Shamkiri and Shamukhi. These Youth Value Centers serve as a hub for social and public development, cultural and sport exchanges between the young people of bordering regions. Furthermore, 20 local school communities are prepared for meaningful integration of live values in educational and social life. Throughout the year a number of educational, cultural and social activities were implemented based on overall life values, which develops sustainable and meaningful cooperation and friendship among the local communities.