Adult Education Centres in Georgia – An engine for community development

Since 2005, DVV International Georgia has been engaged in the establishment of Adult Education Centres. The centres often represent the only opportunity for further education of the adults and the youth in the regions. They provide education and lifelong learning opportunities for all regardless of class, gender, education, age, religion, ideology or nationality.

Since 2005, DVV International Georgia has been engaged in the establishment of Adult Education Centres (AECs). Thirteen AECs are successfully running their programmes in seven regions of the country. The AECs often represent the only opportunity for further education of the adults and the youth in the regions. The AECs helptackle different challenges, such as mass unemployment, poverty, inequality, or social exclusion. They provide education and lifelong learning opportunities for all regardless of class, gender, education, age, religion, ideology or nationality. 

Adult Education Centres – A place for the community

From 2006 to the present, more than 200,000 beneficiaries have profited from the educational services of the AECs.

The centres are usually present in locations where there is only little social interaction. Through their activities they help grow civic, educational, economic, and artistic energy in the communities. By providing innovative teaching methodologies, along with technical support and equipment, AECs contribute immensely towards the activation of a local community that would otherwise have no access to education offers, affordable offices, meeting venues, or rehearsal spaces.

The centres also play an important role in facilitating integration of different social groups into local communities. This applies to ethnic minorities and IDPs, women, people of different ages, religious minorities and socially disadvantaged individuals. Joint activities of the centres build bridges to the community.

AECs contribute to socio-economic and political development

A major achievement of the AECs is their contribution to vocational training and thereby their positive impact on the Georgian labour market. Short-term professional and personal development courses offered by the centres give new employment opportunities to those who have specific goals and little time.

The centres have also become a point of contact for governmental and non-governmental organizations. They often ask for information about the population and for advice on how to mobilize the local population for specific purposes.

Furthermore, the centres have turned into social catalysts which have a big influence on the development of civic activism.Quite often, civic activism in the regions is associated with the name of the Adult Education Centre. Beneficiaries become more self-confident, take more responsibilities over their actions, and learn to fight for and protect their rights within society.

AECs establish their own social enterprises

To support financial independence and sustainability of the AECs in Georgia, an initiative was designed and implemented between 2017 and 2020. With funds from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany and the EU, social enterprises were created in selected AECs. In each location, an analysis of community structures was made. On the basis of these findings, the AECs started small businesses that would bring an added socio-economic value to their community. One AEC started producing metal and plastic doors and windows, another one opened a café on a main touristic route and a third one is involved in honey production.

These initiatives have brought about several important outcomes:

  • The social enterprises created more jobs for the socially disadvantaged population. Currently, almost 50 people are working in the social enterprises.
  • Part of the income generated by the social enterprises is invested in educational activities of the AECs. This gives them the opportunity to offer cost-free educational courses to vulnerable population groups.
  • The establishment of social enterprises contributes to the development of the concept of social entrepreneurship itself which is still weakly developed and not fully understood in Georgia.

Sustainable AECs for a stable adult education system

DVV International attaches a great importance to the sustainability of the AECs in the process of establishing and supporting structures for formal and non-formal education in the regions. In the very beginning, local ownership plays a big role. The municipalities are involved from the very beginning as well and they offer their buildings and premises for a symbolic rent fee.

In parallel, DVV International cooperates with relevant ministries and agencies in the preparation of strategies and legal policies so that adult education is recognized in Georgia as a public responsibility whose systematic support should be provided by both central and local government.

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