Education in Georgia
Neli Ansiani, who is a mother of four children, who are all grown um now, managed to provide them high education, when she still lived in Abkhazia. She explains, that even though she didn’t have a job back in the days, she afforded the costs of education through selling her agricultural products. — „It wasn’t a problem“, she says. Later on, she became a teacher herself, and apart from teaching her own children everything she knew, when they were young, she then put a lot of effort into teaching other children. — All her kids could later on study in Tbilisi, which is not a common (and especially affordable) thing for everyone from rural areas.
This is why the education of their children is so important for the families in Tsintskaro. — The higher the degree of education, the better are the job option in the future. — Especially being able to sending their children to bigger cities, to study and find a job there, is an important aspect of what many parents are working on, by working as hard as they can, to have the financial means that are necessary, as studying is usually not costless in Georgia, or requires more tuition fees than other european countries.
Nora’s parents, who couldn’t afford more education than her accounting studies, made her move to Sukhumi after that. As she was the oldest child in the family, it was her obligation, so financially support the family. — Her sisters left the valley after their educational training, as well, and due to the lack of employment opportunities; they continued studying and started working in Sukhumi, as well. — Together with Nora, they moved into a shared flat in a nearby village.
Attending studies at a state university costs about 2250 Lari (about 870€/980$) a year, which means about 188 Lari (about 72€/80$) a month, which is way more than the amount that students in Germany have to pay, while at the same time, the average Georgian family has to live with way less money than a German one. — All further costs for books etc. are not included.
This is why scholarships are very important for Georgian student. The monthly about of financial support from the state depends on the grades, achieved in national exams; the better the grades, the higher the financial support. — Nevertheless, only 20% of the students in the country get financial support at all and only 5% get the full amount for their studies.
For Marina Tabukashvili, the director of the Taso Foundation, who is eager to provide education and use her skills to help and support people in need, the only place to use knowledge and education is the city, as there is a lot of unemployment in the rural areas, which is why so many young people leave their remote hometowns to study and work in bigger cities.
„When I invited a music teacher to come to our school twice a week, to teach children traditional Georgian music, we feared that no one would show up at the first lesson“, Nora says. „Instead, the whole school children came. Everyone wanted to be in the group; the children were so eager“, she explains. Finally, after auditions and going through all the applicants, the chosen children sang for the very first time in front of their parents. „From the moment they started singing, we held our breath and didn’t exhale until the song ended. In the end, we were all crying. They weren’t perfect, of course, but that wasn’t important anyway. It was the spirit that got us”, Nora expresses emotionally. — Being able to take singing lessons was not a certain thing for the children of Tsintskaro; here as well, Taso Foundation was playing an important role, as they were the ones giving grants. „The music group started from giving the grant from the Taso Foundation side“, Nino explains. The organization gave the grants to afford the lessons and buying the musical instruments.
The children do not only practicing their singing to present small concerts in the village, „they are performing in different parts of the region and sometimes they are playing on festivals“, Nino declares. They choir is basically playing the traditional Georgian folk music, which is supporting the national spirit, so when we first arrived in Tsintskaro, the children welcomed us by organizing a concert at the community center in the evening.
They sang the songs we already listed to during their singing classes when we visited the school, right after our arrival on the very first day of our first visit of the village. The children sang until they got hoarse and danced for hours until their feet hurt until the night, accentuated by the sining teacher playing the traditional Georgian instrument called „Gudastviri“, which is some kind of bagpipe, made out of either roan (sheep-leather) or goatskin. When it was dark, a bonfire was lit and the kids continued outside at the fireplace, not just singing, but also playing guitar.
Dancing and singing in the community center.
Wrestling is one of the most well know national sports in Georgia, and becoming a professional wrestler is worth aspiring to for many young boys and male teenagers in Tsintskaro. While physical education is not very common in regular schools in Georgia, the sport is one of the things that many Georgians are proud of, because of the great success of several Georgian wrestlers. — This is why the boys and teenagers are training really hard.
The first time we got to know about the fascination for wrestling was, when we first entered the school building. In one of the hallways we saw huge poster with a picture of a sportsman and so we found out about it. — The man on the poster is Lukhumi Chkhvimiani, a Georgian wrestling champion in Judo (Tbilisi; among adults); he is a European campion in the Soviet martial art samba (Cyprus; among youth), as well as a medalist in judo (Slovenia; among youth).
The wrestling trainers and the boys in the gym.
The boys and teenagers are training really hard, several times a week at the school-gym, wich is located in a second building right behind the left side of the school. We entered the gym, accessible by/through a steep rusty metal-staircase on the side of the building, up on the second floor of the building; the boys were in the middle of their training. — The wrestling teacher Murad Gurchiani (and brother of Nora) greeted us when we entered, and told the children to run a few rounds around the gym.
Wrestling is a extracurricular activity, just like the singing lessons, and some of the boys are already successful and bring home medals from regional championships, Murad Gurchiani explains. — Murad Gurchiani himself used to be a successful wrestler when he was younger until he had to go to war in the early 90’s. — Right now, two of the sportsmen are under special monitoring, which are Luka (11) and Levani (18); these two are the sons of Murad Gurchiani, and he expresses extensively how proud he is of the success his two sons are making; especially his younger one.
Murad Gurchiani about his work as a wrestling trainer.