Who says learning shouldn’t continue into adulthood? Adult education and lifelong learning is an essential part of the development of society and the country. Consequently, there is an urgent need to ensure those on society's margins have access to adult education.
On April 24, a new adult learning center was opened in Kharagauli, Georgia. The center was officially opened by Ambassador of Federal Republic of Germany to Georgia Hubert Knirsch, DVV international Regional Director of Caucasus and Turkey Maja Avramovska, Director of DVV International Georgian Office Lali Santeladze and Kharagauli Municipality Hall Mayor Nikoloz Topuridze.
The center was established through the funding and effort of the DVV international Georgian Office. The initiative was also supported by the Administration of State Attorney-Governor of Imereti and Kharagauli Municipality Hall. The core aim of the center is to develop the field of adult learning as well as help to produce more qualified workers. The center enables those interested to advance their qualifications and skills in different directions for free, and eventually help them to become competitive employees on the market.
This is not the first such educational center opened by DVV international in the country - it has built ten others, all based on the German mode, in different regions of Georgia, primarily to respond to the needs of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). They offer, among other things, courses in the realm of basic education and vocational training. For the adult population in these regions, the centers often provide the only chance for further education. The centers were opened in Akhaltsikhe and Akhalkalaki (Samtskhe-Javakheti), Daba Jvari and Senaki (Samegrelo), Keda (Adjara), Chokhatauri (Guria), Leliani (Kakheti), Koda and Shaumiani (Lower Kartli) and in Ambrolauri (Racha). These centers are aimed at raising awareness among the public about the importance of lifelong learning and give individuals the chance to gain new skills and expand their knowledge. The vocational and professional development classes offered by the learning centers gives an opportunity for socially vulnerable residents to acquire professions in-demand on the market as well as master those fields in which they are already working, meaning they can equip themselves with new essential skills and knowledge that would significantly improve their chances of getting hired. Further, they get to take part in various cultural, social or civic activities.
“Georgia and Germany cooperate in many fields, including culture, economics, education, and I’m extremely pleased that we have yet another example of such cooperation in Kharagauli,” said Ambassador Knirsch. “This opening is of huge importance for the locals as well as for the development of the region itself. Such relations are important to Germany as well, since here we make new friends, establish new friendly relations and undergo new stages of cooperation. I have seen how such learning centers established in Georgia by DVV International function and I know that these centers will significantly benefit the local inhabitants. Students of these centers will acquire the knowledge they need. In Germany, such learning centers have a long tradition. Recently, the 100th anniversary of such learning centers was marked in Germany. The idea behind creating learning centers in Germany was to have good schools, good universities and public education centers throughout the country to serve the citizens,” the Ambassador noted.
The centers offer vocational and personal development courses, among them IT, English and German classes, tour guiding, project management, accounting, financial managing, conflict management, various kinds of handcraft- enamel arts, batik, sewing; cosmetology, hair-styling, furniture design, agricultural professions, gold jewelry-making, beekeeping, construction professions, and cookery. The courses are tailored to suit people of any age, gender, social status and preference. Such activities increase the opportunities for middle aged (40+) and elderly people (60+) to get an education and gain new skills. The annual reports from the centers demonstrate that the age of the recipients varies from 40 to 87. Every year, more than 7000 beneficiaries take part in the centers’ programs, 8-11% of which go on to get jobs. From 2006 to date, 100,000 beneficiaries have used the service, including 30,000 IDPs and 15,000 representatives of ethnic and religious minorities. In total, more than 150,000 people have taken part in the projects carried out by the Georgian Office of DVV International.
“DVV International is a member of a big family in Germany that incorporates around 900 public universities and federal unions,” DVV’s Avramovska stated. “These organizations represent the largest-scale and most important adult learning centers in Germany. DVV International is a member of an international family as well, since it operates in Europe, Asia and Latin America by cooperating with 200 local partners on the spot. This year marks the 50th anniversary of DVV International’s establishment. In 1969, DVV International was founded as a center cooperating with developing countries on adult education issues. Today, it is an institute that fights poverty in more than 30 countries around the globe and fosters education together with its partners. We, together with citizens, educational organizations and governments, create sustainable adult learning systems. As a result, in cooperation with our partners, we establish lifelong learning centers,” the Regional Director said.
DVV International is running the project with the support and financial aid of the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany and the EU. Between 2002-2019, the amount of funding from the donors amounted to EUR 10 million.