Georgia: Unions demand consultation on teacher qualification
Georgia’s EI affiliate, the Educators and Scientists Free Trade Union (ESFTUG), has responded to proposals for a new teachers’ certification process by calling on the Georgian Ministry of Education to engage with consultation.
After the ESFTUG’s tireless advocacy for national authorities to promote access to quality education in Georgian public schools, the government had decided to train teachers for the general certification and a teachers’ voucher system had been introduced in 2010.
The national authorities have selected the teacher training institutes entitled to deliver examination programs for government-accredited teachers. Unfortunately this system failed. The majority of teachers were disappointed and felt insulted as their professionalism was threatened by the results of the teachers’ general examination.
Following amendments to the certification law, which was issued on 4 December 2009, the latest round of registration of teachers for certification has begun. National authorities have taken responsibility for training 4,000 teachers in mathematics, physics and general skills, as well as the examination certification in professional development. However, Georgian teachers will not be provided with voucher funds from the government.
In a recent press conference, the ESFTUG’s President, Maia Kobakhidze, has called on the Minister of Education and Science to cooperate, underlining the point that cooperation between social partners would help to promote on-going education reform and enhance access to quality education.
Kobakhidze insisted that public schools should be informed before the registration deadline about the criteria for teachers; fees should be cancelled; the right for all teachers to take exams is respected, and more than 4,000 teachers get governmental benefits. She also said that only social dialogue and negotiations would be able to ensure teachers’ interests were adequately taken into consideration and their dignity defended.
EI supports ESFTUG’s request for better quality teachers’ training and urges the Georgian government to respect national and international norms concerning negotiation and collective bargaining.