Quality education and qualified human capital are some of the foundations of a country’s steady development, and Georgia actively embarked down the path of education reform in 2004. Reforms such as changes to the university entry system, the introduction of a unified electronic national examination, the implementation of voucher financing in universities and schools based on the principle of “money follows student”, the creation of teacher training programmes and the promotion of the English language through the invitation of native speakers as teachers all transformed Georgia’s education system, and efficient funding formulas and management incentive schemes in helped eradicate corruption in the education sector.
School voucher reform, whereby funding for schools depends on the number of pupils, allowed the Georgian government to optimize expenses in the education sector and fund various new programmes–such as personal net book as a gift to every 1st-grade pupil, personal note book to every pupil in the 10th grade, Teachers’ Houses in every region, new science laboratories in all public schools, and a summer job programme for students.
In order to improve the level of English among young Georgians in particular, the curriculum and textbooks were revised and over 5,000 English-speakers were invited to Georgia to teach in schools in rural areas. Thanks to various reforms and measures, over 75 per cent of candidates chose English as a foreign language during university entrance exams, and 72 per cent of them achieved scores of B1 or higher. Moreover, a new motivational system was created for school teachers and directors, and the assessment of schools was based on the achievements of their pupils at university entry exams.
In higher education, an efficient funding formula was introduced according to which students receive state funding based on the scores they achieve during the national unified university entrance examination, which are based on merit and in an electronic and transparent manner. State-funded vouchers–whose amount varies according to national unified university entrance exam results–are granted based on the “money follows student” principle and can be used in both public as well as private universities, creating a healthy competition among higher education institutions for students with good grades. This competition increased the quality of both public and private universities whereby ca. 40% of students attend private higher education institutions.