Georgian Schools to Embrace Human Rights, Gender Equality Education

Human rights, gender equality, healthy lifestyle and reproductive health will soon make up an integral part of the school curriculum in Georgia. On May 15, the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia and the UN Joint Program for Gender Equality signed a Memorandum of Understanding to assist the ongoing revision of the national curriculum and help integrate the issues of human rights, gender equality and healthy lifestyle into the educational programs in an initiative supported by the Government of Sweden.

Cooperation between the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia and three United Nations agencies – United Nations Development Program (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and United Nation Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), covers three main areas of secondary education: formal education in schools; non-formal education, including for optional courses and parents’ education; and vocational education and training.

Focusing on both content and delivery of education, the United Nations will assist the Ministry to analyse the school and college curriculum from the gender equality perspective, develop new educational programs, upgrade teaching methodologies, train teachers and career councillors, and share best international practices in promoting human rights, gender equality and healthy lifestyle through general education.

The United Nations will also work with the vocational colleges and local governments to create more educational and employment opportunities for women across Georgia, and to involve locally elected women councillors in the pre-school education reform.

"Cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia will contribute to the healthy and harmonious development of youth and to strengthening human capital and helping in achieving national priorities defined under the Sustainable Development Goals, National Youth Policy, Maternal and Child Health Strategy, and Demographic Security Policy Concept. Integration of these issues into the education system, when delivered within a safe and enabling learning environment and alongside access to health services, has a positive and life-long effect on the health and well-being of young people: reduction in teenage pregnancies and abortions; decrease in sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among young people aged 15–24 years; decrease in HIV infections among young people aged 15–24 years; decrease in sexual abuse," Lela Bakradze, Assistant Representative, UNFPA Georgia, told GEORGIA TODAY.

“In the framework of the Memorandum, the UNDP, UN Women and UNFPA will support the working group established at the National Curriculum Department of the Ministry of Education and Science with experts to integrate the human rights framework, healthy lifestyle, domestic violence and reproductive health issues into the National Curriculum of public schools,” Erika Kvapilova, UN Women Country Representative in Georgia, told us. “Gender issues will be mainstreamed in the revision process of the National Curriculum of VII-XII grades of other mainstream subjects (history, literature, etc.). In addition, technical expertise will be provided for reviewing and enhancing the specific subject standards for basic and secondary levels of the general education and higher school in order to ensure the integration of healthy lifestyle and reproductive health, as well as domestic violence issues into the formal education system, focusing on subject standards like “Biology” and “Civic Education”. Support will also be provided to the Ministry and the Teachers Professional Development Center in integrating the training module on gender equality, domestic violence, healthy lifestyle and reproductive health and rights issues into the teachers’ professional education system.”

The representatives of the Georgian Ministry of Education assert that the curriculum of secondary schools was upgraded in the first four grades last year. It is unknown when the process will come to a conclusion, but the relevant action plan is expected to be concluded by the end of the coming summer.

Maka Lomadze

18 May 2017 18:39