The Rector of Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Academician Jaba Samushia and the Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Georgia, Nodar Papukashvili, as well as representatives of Batumi Shota Rustaveli State University, Iakob Gogebashvili Telavi State University, Akaki Tsereteli State University and three non-governmental organizations (Education Development and Employment Center, Mariani and Movement Accessible Environment for Everyone) signed a Memorandum of Cooperation on the establishment of the Inclusive Education Support Network.
“Supporting inclusive education is an important issue that Tbilisi State University is actively working on. The university is taking deliberate steps in this direction. One such project is the creation of audio versions of textbooks for students,” Rector Jaba Samushia said. According to him, the university has already purchased special equipment and this process will begin in the near future at the TSU Central Library and the National Science Library, in which dozens of student volunteers will be involved.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Deputy Minister of Education Nodar Papukashvili noted that promoting inclusive education is a priority for the Ministry. “In 2009, Georgia joined the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which led to great changes in all directions. New approaches to people with disabilities have been formed. Today’s event is an expression of how the Ministry of Education and Science supports these approaches on behalf of the state. We are ready to support all such initiatives, to participate in similar projects and to contribute to the development of inclusive education,” said the Deputy Minister.
The main goal of the network is to unite all stakeholders - state structures, educational institutions, and the civil society sector – in order to improve the quality of inclusive education. Any organization that shares the content of the Memorandum and is willing to cooperate in supporting inclusive education at different educational levels can become a member of the network.
The founding organizations of the Inclusive Education Support Network are members of the consortium of the Erasmus+ supported project “the Curriculum Innovation for Social Inclusion (CISI).” This project has been implemented since 2019 under the coordination of the Disability Research Center (DRC) at the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of TSU. As a result of the project, new courses have been introduced in the partner Georgian universities, which will allow future teachers to acquire knowledge and skills to work with students with various developmental disabilities.