Liberal-Democratic Values in the National Curriculum of General Education of Georgia

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The major principles of general education policy of Georgia are presented at “The Document of the National Goals for General Education” that states importance of forming and establishing the liberal and democratic values among school students. Considering the fact that after re-independence, Georgia has chosen the Western political course and therefore, the way of building a liberal-democratic political system, we reckon it is a quite interesting and noteworthy to determine the state policy in this point of view. The research question can be formulated as: how does the national curriculum of Georgia respond to the declared goals of the general education in the terms of forming the liberal-democratic values among school students. The academic literature, in this regard, mostly focuses on the political values and their role in the different curriculum (Brody, 1994; Beyer and Apple, 1998; Chisholm, 2003). Some of the authors particularly investigate the liberal and democratic values in school textbooks (Strike, 1991; Erss, 2017). However, the measurement of these values remains problematic. The given study overviews the issue of declared political values in the European countries’ relevant documents for general education goals. Also, the research uses the method document analysis method, while coding as a research instrument. In order to avoid the possible unilateralism during the study, an interdisciplinary approach is chosen (using perspectives of both education and political sciences). As the major object of the research lies in the national curriculum and its components of all three levels of general education of Georgia, a didactic approach for curriculum research is used, that mostly focuses on the compatibility between teaching objectives, contents, methods and liberal-democratic principles. The results of the study show that declaring the political values in their general education documents can’t be seen as the universal European experience. However, in some countries, mainly in Central and Eastern Europe, the necessity of teaching democratic principles is emphasized. As Georgian national curriculum, its major goals are mostly focused on the teaching principles and pay no attention to maintaining the liberal-democratic values among school students. However, in broad sense, its content, especially in the courses of civic education at all levels of the general education, is clearly based on concepts, categories and principles of liberal-democratic values. It should be mentioned that, unlike the term “democracy’, the “liberal” can’t be found neither in the societal school subject standard not in the national curriculum. Nonetheless, beside the sentences and phrases in the civic education’s textbooks, even the content of school students’ assignments covers the issues of tolerance, the rule of law, minority rights, separation of powers etc. Furthermore, in the national curriculum several topics are devoted to the political education, in particular: the idea of the state, the rights, duties and control necessities of governments, the active citizenship, government forms etc. However, at the same time, the national curriculum offers only one compulsory teaching technology (constructivism), that is less relevant with the freedom of choice and diversity and therefore, with the liberal-democratic values.
National Curriculum, Civic Education School Courses, Liberal- Democratic Values, Didactic approach for Curriculum Research