Comparative Education (Georgia & Russia)


Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University

Comparative Education

(Georgia & Russia)

Natia Kentchiashvili

Tbilisi 2014

Our presentation in comparative and international education gives you information if you are interested in Georgian and Russian education. Various modes of inquiry and the intellectual orientations of several disciplines are used to investigate, from a comparative and/or cross-cultural perspective, the following aspects of education in two countries: educational change and modernization, the interaction between education and other factors, for examples, sociopolitical factors, geophysical realities, demographic, the politics of educational reform, educational systems and institution building, the relationships of particular aspects of schools, societies, and cultures and last, language politics.

Focusing Questions

  • Identify what you believe are the purposes of high education. How do these standards work?
  • Do these countries have proper vocational or technical schools? How do they work?
  • What values are represented in the university’s curriculum? Do they correspond with the international standards?

Side-by-Side Comparison of  Two Countries:

  1. Sociopolitical factors:

1.1. Factor;

1.2. Response;

1.3. Educational implication.

2. Geophysical realities:

2.1. Locality;

2.2. Response;

2.3. Educational implication.

3. Demographic attributes

3.1. Attribute

3.2. Response

3.3. Educational implication

Side-by-Side Comparison

1. Sociopolitical Factors

1.1. Factors


Russia made uneven progress in democratization during the 1990s, but this limited progress was reversed after Vladimir Putin rose to power in 1999-2000, according to many observers. In August 2008, the Medvedev-Putin “tandem” directed military operations against Georgia and recognized the independence of Georgia’s separatist South Ossetia and Abkhazia, actions condemned by most of the international community.


Over the past decade, the Republic of Georgia with its 4.4 million citizens has hit the headlines not only because of its war with Russia, but also because of a rapid economic and political transformation following the 2003 Rose Revolution. Nearly ten years the World Bank continue to praise the country for its reforms and often showcase Georgia’s economic development as a prototype for successful transformation.

1.2. Response


Response: Is the education and policy reform during the early 1990s in Russia was more ideologically inspired, and meritocratic, replacing  the Marxist-Leninist ideology in education with political pluralism, autonomy and democracy, than during 2000-2005, influenced by the market forces and globalization, it was focusing on access, equity, quality and standards in education.

Pre-school education

According to the 2002 census, 68% of children (78% urban and 47% rural) aged 5 are enrolled in kindergartens. According to UNESCO data, enrollment in any kind of pre-school programme increased from 67% in 1999 to 84% in 2005.

Kindergartens, unlike schools, are regulated by regional and local authorities. The Ministry of Education and Science regulates only a brief pre-school preparation programme for the 5–6 year old children. In 2004 the government attempted to charge the full cost of kindergartens to the parents; Twins, children of university students, refugees, Chernobyl veterans and other protected social groups are entitled to free service.

The Soviet system provided for nearly universal primary (nursery, age 1 to 3) and kindergarten (age 3 to 7) service in urban areas, relieving working mothers from daytime childcare needs. as the secondary-education study load increased and moved from the ten to eleven-year standard, the kindergarten programmes shifted from training basic social skills, or physical abilities, to preparation for entering the school level. After the collapse of the Soviet Union the number decreased to 46,000; kindergarten buildings were sold as real estate, irreversibly rebuilt and converted for office use. At the same time, a minority share of successful state-owned kindergartens, regarded as a vertical lift to quality schooling, flourished throughout the 1990s. Privately owned kindergartens, although in high demand, did not gain a significant share due to administrative pressure; share of children enrolled in private kindergartens dropped from 7% in 1999 to 1% in 2005.

Secondary school

General framework

There were 59,260 general education schools in 2007–2008 school year, an increase from 58,503 in the previous year. However, prior to 2005–2006, the number of schools was steadily decreasing from 65,899 in 2000–2001. The 2007–2008 number includes 4,965 advanced learning schools specializing in foreign languages, mathematics etc.; 2,347 advanced general-purpose schools and 1,884 schools for all categories of disabled children; it does not include vocational technical school and technicums. Private schools accounted for 0.3% of elementary school enrolment in 2005 and 0.5% in 2005.

According to a 2005 UNESCO report, 96% of the adult population has completed lower secondary schooling and most of them also have an upper secondary education.

Eleven-year secondary education in Russian is compulsory since September 1, 2007. Until 2007, it was limited to nine years with grades 10-11 optional; federal subjects of Russia could enforce higher compulsory standard through local legislation within the eleven–year federal programme. Moscow enacted compulsory eleven–year education in 2005, similar legislation existed in Altai Krai, Sakha and Tyumen Oblast.

The eleven-year school term is split into elementary (grades 1-4), middle (grades 5-9) and senior (grades 10-11) classes. Absolute majority of children attend full programme schools providing eleven-year education; schools limited to elementary or elementary and middle classes typically exist in rural areas. Of 59,260 schools in Russia, 36,248 provide full eleven-year programme, 10,833 – nine-year “basic” (elementary and middle) programme, and 10,198 – elementary education only.

Children are accepted to first grade at the age of 6 or 7, depending on individual development of each child. Children of elementary classes are normally separated from other classes within their own floor of a school building. They are taught, ideally, by a single teacher through all four elementary grades (except for physical training and, if available, foreign languages); 98.5% of elementary school teachers are women. Their number decreased from 349,000 in 1999 to 317,000 in 2005. Starting from the fifth grade, each academic subject is taught by a dedicated specialty teacher (80.4% women in 2004, an increase from 75.4% in 1991). Teachers’ average monthly salaries in 2008 range from 6,200 roubles (260 US dollars) in Mordovia to 21,000 roubles (900 US dollars) in Moscow.

The school year extends from September 1 to end of May and is divided into four terms. Study programme in schools is fixed; unlike in some Western countries, schoolchildren or their parents have no choice of study subjects. Year results are graded strictly 2, 3, 4 or 5.


Response: Education has become the focus and priority of the Georgian Government since 2004 (after the `Rose Revolution`). Changes in the curriculum, teaching and learning methodologies, student assessment, teaching and learning materials and professional development of teachers have significantly improved education level in the country.

Pre-School Education

Pre-school care and education is universal (but not compulsory) for children under the age of 6 in Georgia and is delivered almost exclusively through full-day nurseries (further referred to as pre-schools). Currently pre-school education is completely decentralized in the country with local governments fully responsible for establishing, funding and operating pre-school institutions.

General Education

Current general education system is based on the Law on General Education adopted in April 2005. According to the same Law, the state funds general education schools according to a per capita financing model.

Education is distributed on three levels: primary (grades 1 through 6), basic (grades 7 through 9) and secondary (grades 10 through12). According to the Law, basic education is compulsory in Georgia.

Pupils take special Computer Adapted Test (CAT) in order to get a final school-leaving certificate. Only after the successful completion of the exam an entrant is given a school certificate and a chance to participate in the entrance exams. A new examination model 8+1 is being worked out.  The entrants will have to pass 8 exams + general ability test to become students. Significant reforms have been implemented in the field of vocational education.

The system of general education also includes the National Curriculum and Assessment Center (NCAC), the National Examination Center (NEC), the Teacher Professional Development Center (TPDC) and Education Resource Centers (ERC).

After the reforms implemented, attendance in every school is high, schools became much safer and secure, which is caused by the introduction of resource officers at schools. The pilot program began in 2010 and is still running successfully :

  • Students attendance in time is increased by 80%;
  • Facts of secret missing are decreased by 75%;
  • Violence among the schoolchildren is decreased by 80%;
  • 78% of population think that environment at schools became safer;
  • In addition, working conditions of teachers has changed significantly. Teachers’ salaries increased in Georgia (1000 GEL). This all takes place on the basis of the certification and participation in the various programs, which give teachers certain bonuses to their salaries. Special institution -Teacher’s House help them achieve best results in the certification exams mentioned above. Teacher’s House is the institution under the ministry of Science and Education which focuses on increasing teachers’ qualification. Teacher’s House provides teachers with trainings in every single subject. Trainings are conducted on daily basis and are free of charge. Teachers have the access to computerized library. Teacher’s house is the place where educators meet Georgian and foreign experts and share experiences with them.

1.3. Educational Implications

How have unique socio-political factors shaped formal education?


  • Every citizen in Russia has right to education. This right is guaranteed by the constitution;
  • Children begin to go to school at the age of 6 or 7;
  • At the end of 1990 the 11-forms course had been officially entered;
  • After finishing 9 forms of a secondary school they can go a vocational or technical schools.
  • Vocational training option
  • Upon completion of a nine-year programme the student has a choice of either completing the remaining two years at normal school, or of a transfer to a specialized professional training school. Historically, those were divided into low-prestige PTUs and better-regarded technicums and medical (nurse level) schools; in the 2000s, many such institutions, if operational, have been renamed to They provide students with a working skill qualification and a high school certificate equivalent to 11-year education in a normal school; the programme, due to its work training component, extends to 3 years.


  • Every child has got the right to education by constitution; Although the Constitution mandates that education is free;
  • At the age of 6-7 they are accepted for schooling;
  • Before 2008 there was 11-forms course like in Russia, but now it changes into 12-forms course;
  • After 9 forms students can go to the vocational or technical schools, while 11 forms graduated students can be accepted by institutes and universities.
  • Higher Education
    • The new law on higher education was adopted in December 2004. The law is aimed at ensuring compliance of higher education system with western (European) systems, creating new mechanisms of quality control, as the main precondition for renewal of the content and for achieving higher standards in education. Higher education system consists of three-cycle (bachelor, master and doctoral). Education levels passed by the students and academic degrees received are compatible with the Bologna process requirements. Students interested in acquiring practical skills and employment are offered higher professional education programs, upon completion of which they will receive qualification of a certified specialist. After 2013 year, 14 profession became free for Bachelors.
  • Vocational educational program is to be based on two standards: occupational standards and vocational educational standard.

Side-by-Side Comparison

2. Geophysical Realities

2.1. Locality


  • Locality: northern Eurasia, borders Norway, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine , Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia and North Korea. Russia has the world’s greatest reserves of mineral and energy resources, and is considered an energy superpower. It has the world’s largest forest reserves and its lakes contain approximately one-quarter of the world’s unfrozen fresh water. Among the 85 subjects which constitute Russia, there are 21 national republics (meant to be home to a specific ethnic minority), 5 autonomous okrugs (usually with substantial or predominant ethnic minority) and an autonomous oblast.


  • Locality: the crossroad of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the south by Turkey and Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. Oil was found within the confines of the Kahetia plain and in the Colchis lowland. In some areas copper, zinc, arsenic, mercury, talc, marl, limestone, iron, gold, granite, marble and mined. Georgia is one of the world’s richest countries in terms of curative mineral waters. The country features more than 100 climatic and balneological resorts.

2.2. Response


  • Response: Approximately 12.8% of Russians lived below the national poverty line in 2011. Unemployment in Russia was at 5.4% in 2014, down from about 12.4% in 1999.
  • The middle class has grown from just 8 million persons in 2000 to 104 million persons in 2013.
  • The average nominal salary in Russia was $967 per month in early 2013, up from $80 in 2000.


  • Response: The country has a high unemployment rate of 12.6% and has fairly low median income compared to European countries.
  • In 2007 Georgia’s real GDP growth rate reached 12%, making Georgia one of the fastest growing economies in Eastern Europe.
  • In 2005 average monthly income of a household was GEL 347 (about 200 USD).

2.3. Educational Implications

How have geophysical realities influenced formal education?


In September 2003 Russia was involved in the Bologna  Process.  According to the new model:

Basic higher education (4 years) leading to the Bachelor’s degree, the first university level degree. This is equivalent to the B.Sc. degree in the US or Western Europe.

Postgraduate higher education (5-6 years or more). After two years, students are entitled to receive a Magister’s degree. This is equivalent to a Master’s Degree (M.Sc, M.A.) in the US or Western Europe. After a Master’s degree, students can continue to study towards a doctoral degree: the first level, equivalent to Ph.D. and the second, highest level, equivalent to Professor.


  • In May 2005 Georgia was involved in the Bologna
  • Basic higher education (4 years);
  • Postgraduate higher education (5-6 years or more);
  • Initial vocational schools include PTU  which offer one-and-a-half to two years’ purely professional education;
  • Non-university level higher education institutions also offer three- to four-year professional and secondary general education and two-year vocational training for holders of the School Leaving Certificate.

Side-by-Side Comparison

3. Demographic Attributes

3.1. Attributes


Attribute: Russia is a multi-national state with over 185 ethnic groups.  The All-Russian Census of 2002 showed that Russian citizens speak over 150 languages.

  1. Russian – 142,856,536 (81% )

Six other ethnicities have a population exceeding 1 million:

  1. Tatar – 5,554,601 (3.9%)
  2. Ukrainian – 2,942,961 (1.4%)
  3. Bashkir – 1,379,727 (1.1%)
  4. Chuvash – 1,637,094 (1%)
  5. Chechen – 1,360,253 (1%)
  6. Armenian – 1,130,491 (0.9%)
  7. Azerbaijani – 621,840
  8. Georgian – 197,934


Attribute:  Georgia is an ethnically very diverse country where apart from Georgians, there are Azerbaijanis,  Armenians, Ukrainians, Russians, Greeks, Abkhazians, Ossetians, Kists,  Yazidi and  and other ethnic minorities. Total population of 4,661,473 (July 2006 est.). the following ethnic groups are living in Georgia:

Georgians 3,661,173 (84% )
Azerbaijanis 284,761 (6.5 %)
Armenians 248,929 (5.7%)
Abkhazians 3,527
Ossetians 38,028
Russians 67,671
Greeks 15,166
Ukrainians 7,039
Kists 7,110
Yezids 18,329

3.2. Response


There are five types (models) of national school:

  1. First type: In the republics of  Tatarstan and Bashkortostan, secondary education is taught in the native language for the whole period of study.
  2. Second type: In the republics of Sakha, Tyva and Chuvashia, students are instructed in the native language for five or seven grades.
  3. Third type: while in other republics like Buryatia and Mordovia this is limited to elementary school.
  4. Fourth type: thereafter children are instructed in Russian and continue studying their native language as a separate subject.
  5. Fifth type: In most other republics, autonomous districts and regions, national schools use Russian as the language of instruction throughout the whole period of study, while the native language is taught only as a separate subject.


According to the Georgian Law on General Education every citizen of Georgia has a right on receiving secondary education in native languages. Georgia has got adopting education system for ethnic and regional  groups like Armenian,  Azeri people and others.

3.3. Education Implications


From the early 1990s, which saw the beginning of the decentralization education reform, the dynamics of language teaching were determined by the implementation of a language revival policy. In official documents of the republics the terms ‘national education’ and ‘national schools’ were preserved, but in practice these were ‘native-Russian bilingual and bicultural education institutions’, that is, ordinary schools which additionally had native language teaching either as the medium of instruction or as a subject. Nevertheless, these schools were an important mechanism and resource in ensuring the sustainability of languages and cultures of the peoples in post-Soviet Russia. From a comparative perspective, native (Russian and non-Russian) language learning in the educational system of Russia had a higher share among the humanities, and foreign language learning a lower share, than the global average.

  • How is the current situation in language education assessed? The number of languages taught and the amount of language teaching increased. By the end of the 2000s, 39 languages were media of instruction while 50 languages were taught as a separate subject. The growth in the number of languages used in education since the beginning of 1990s.
  • Another official criterion is the number of schools where native (not Russian) languages are used in the educational process (‘national schools’).
  • In addition, there are several types of schools for indigenous small numbered peoples of the North.
  • It was officially reported that by 2005, in 9.9% of general education institutions in Russia, students were taught in their native languages, while in other 4 % of schools native languages were taught as a separate subject.
  • In 2009 the share of schools teaching in a native language has been measured at 45% in Bashkortostan, 40% in Sakha, 59% in Tatarstan and 80% in Tyva. It is further reported that the number of schools teaching in native languages in all Russia’s republics increased on average from 13.5% in 1991 to 56% in 2009 and that the number of schoolchildren increased accordingly.


According to the Georgian Law on General Education every citizen of Georgia has a right on receiving secondary education in native language. Georgia has got adopting education system for ethnic and regional  groups like Armenian,  Azeri people and others. Today Georgian government is funding:

151 Russian-language schools
141 Armenian-language schools
117 Azerbaijani-language schools
3 Ossetian-language schools
Bilingual schools Trilingual schools
161 6

In order to provide equal opportunity for every citizen of Georgia to receive higher education in 2008 first time national examination in general skills was conducted in Azeri and Armenian languages as well. Students of minority groups are obliged  to learn Georgian language at the first year of studying and after than thay can start professional learning.


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