The “4 + 1 Program” in Higher Education Institutions as a Strategy for the Integration of Ethnic Minorities

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One of the most important issues in contemporary Georgia is the protection of national minorities’ rights and civic integration promotion. To increase access to higher education and therefore to promote civic integration of ethnic minorities, in 2009, by the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia, based on amendments made to the Law on Higher Education, educational program in Georgian Language training was launched. The program aimed to let ethnic minorities to be enrolled in higher education institutions based on the results of the Azerbaijanian, Armenian, Ossetian and Abkhazian language tests of General skills and afterward, to study the Georgian language at the level which is necessary to continue studying under the bachelor's program. Based on the results of the general skill tests in Azerbaijanian, Armenian, Abkhazian and Ossetian languages, the rules for enrolling students in higher education institutions were defined as a temporary measure, the validity of which expired at the end of the 2018-2019 academic year. Therefore, we think it is necessary to evaluate the results of the educational program in the Georgian language, to summarize the opinions and recommendations of the parties involved in the implementation of the program. The educational program presented by the Ministry of Education in 2004 aimed to create equal conditions for all entrants when applying to Georgian higher education institutions. Under this reform, unified national exams have been introduced since 2005, but in the first year of the reform, only twenty ethnic minority entrants became students, a much lower rate than in previous years. To eliminate this negative effect of the reform, the Ministry of Education has started implementing a "favorable policy" for ethnic minorities. This study aims to assess students' perceptions and attitudes about the effectiveness of the Georgian language training program (4 + 1 program) initiated for ethnic minorities in 2009 and implemented within the framework of the National Civil Integration Action Plan; Also, to analyze the goals of the introduction of the 4 + 1 program in the education system. In the report, by using the integration theoretical framework and statistical data analysis method, I studied statistical data on the number of students representing ethnic minorities in Georgian universities; analyzed the goals and motives of the Ministry of Education while introducing "4 + 1 program"; also analyzed the official statistics provided by the National Center for Examinations and Assessment and the Center for Education Quality Development. As a result of the study, after the launching of the program, an increase in the number of ethnic minority students in Georgian universities and an improvement in their knowledge of the Georgian language was revealed.
Eethnic minorities, The “4 + 1 program”, Civic integration