Impact of COVID-19 on Preschool and Early Education System in Georgia – Presentation on the Findings
On September 14, EWMI ACCESS grantee Civitas Georgica presented the findings on their assessment “Impact of COVID-19 on Preschool and Early Education in Georgia”. The assessment analyses policies, regulations, decisions, and responses to the pandemic crisis. A particular focus is also on the challenges kindergarten staff and parents faced during this nationwide closure. Study period covers March 2020 to March 2021, during which kindergartens operated only for 6 weeks.
The assessment consists of in-depth interviews with key decision-makers and early education experts, a survey of 475 kindergartens (both public and private), and up to 2400 parents.
Findings show that kindergartens weren’t prioritized by the Inter-agency Coordination Council, as kindergarten regulation was one of the last to be adopted on September 1, 2020. This regulation, focusing only on sanitary safety issues, completely ignores pre-school and early education aspects. Moreover, the Labor Inspection Department adopted the ordinance without consulting child development specialists, resulting in many restrictions becoming obstacles for the socialization and developmental needs of the children. In addition these regulations are nearly impossible to fulfill – only 15% of inquired kindergarten staff believe the regulations are adequate to address the issues.
The lack of a diversified approach has created additional problems. All kindergartens had to adhere to unified rules regardless of their size, epidemiologic situation and many other factors, again putting a strain on the social development of children. Other problems include distance learning, which was implemented without teachers and staff receiving any methodological guidance, and local governments not allotting any of the saved budgetary funds to kindergartens.
Civitas Georgica not only identified problems but is providing practical recommendations to ensure effective management of pre-school education institutions during emergencies. The report is available here in Georgian.