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“Study of Educational Needs of Student Representatives Of Ethnic Minorities”

“Study of Educational Needs of Student Representatives Of Ethnic Minorities”

A study  entitled  Study of Educational Needs of Student Representatives of Ethnic Minorities living in Georgia was conducted in 2016. The main objective of the study was to identify school dropouts and its causes among ethnic minorities. According to literature, dropping out of school  results primarily  from child labour practices and early marriages, specifically in the case of  girls. The research shows the negative impact of the process on individuals as well as on the State and  society at large.

On May 2nd 2017,  a discussion of a research and policy paper  titled “Study of Educational Needs of Student Representatives of Ethnic Minorities” was held  in Courtyard Marriot.  organized by the Civic Development Institute. Decision-makers, representatives of international and local NGOs, education researchers and human rights advocates participated in the discussion. Yvonne Gogoll (Human Rights Focal Point, EU Delegation) attended the meeting and presented the main goals of the research, its significance and its contribution in identifying  the educational needs of  ethnic minorities living in Georgia.

The full participation of ethnic minorities in civil and political life is a precondition for building a democratic country. Therefore, it is important to create equal social and economic conditions and opportunities for ethnic minorities; to give them a qualified education on every level. Today, ethnic minority students and Georgian students do not have  equal access to qualified education. 
    
According to the data of Education Management Information System (EMIS), throughout the 2015-2016 academic year, 10 675 students left school. In Kvemo Kartli and Samtskhe-Javakheti (families of ethnic minorities), school dropout is the most frequent phenomenon. The main reason for this is child labor. Another leading reason is marriage –girls in upper grades often leave schools once they are married.

 

About Research:
The group of researchers reviewed existing literature on the issues of Georgian ethnic minorities' education and conducted a qualitative research. Factors, relating to abandoning education by ethnic minorities living in Georgia were considered.
Studies have shown that the problem of leaving school can be seen throughout the generations. The study aimed at analyzing the educational needs of the ethnic minority students; examining the existing legislative framework, policy, education and social programs, and identifying the problematic issues that require urgent intervention.

The main findings of  the study defined, that there is a bilateral problem. 
On one hand, these problems come from the families and the society of ethnic minorities:
•    Low motivation and no interest towards studies; 
•    Employment: Those students, who have an opportunity to be employed (ex. the family owns a small business) and know that they are going to start working, are not interested in attending school as they do not see any sense in it; 
•    Child labor: Regardless of  age, boys are mostly absent from classes in the spring and fall during soil cultivation, seeding and harvesting;
•    Marriage: Students say that many of the girls get married during the school years and as a result drop out.

On the other  hand,  the government and schools do not address the problems and they remain unsolved.  
•    Access to resources for non-Georgian speaking students: fiction books in the native language or in the translated form are not available for ethnic minority students;
•    Textbooks: Lack of non-Georgian textbooks was equally mentioned by the teachers, headmasters and graduates.
•    Teaching of Georgian as a second language: focus groups named language skills of the Georgian teachers among one of the problems.

Based on the research, policy documents have been developed for strengthening children's rights on local and national levels.