A young girl sitting at a school desk and reading from a purple-colored book.

Opening Doors for Students in Georgia .

Primary school teachers across Georgia are learning new ways to teach reading and math, opening doors for their students’ futures.

As many people are fortunate enough to know from experience, an inspiring and informed teacher can make a world of difference in a student’s life. This is especially true in primary school, when children learn basic math and literacy skills that will prepare them for advanced study and open a world of possibilities for them as adults. In Georgia, teachers and their students stand to benefit from more widespread training in international best practices in classroom instruction and a greater availability of teaching and reading materials.

Recognizing this, the Georgian government is investing in teacher training and educational materials. With the support of the Ministry of Education and Science, the USAID-funded Georgia Primary Education Project, implemented by Chemonics, kicked off a training program in April 2013 to equip teachers with the latest instructional methods, emphasizing the incorporation of short student assessments at regular intervals and instructional materials like posters, activity cards, and supplemental readers. To date, the initiative has reached more than 1,200 math and reading teachers from across the country, including more than 200 from ethnic and linguistic minority schools.


math and reading teachers reached across the country


schools with "teacher learning circles"


ethnic and linguistic minority schools reached

The teachers who have participated so far have been enthusiastic. Maia Turashvili, a Grade 1 and 2 language, math, and science teacher from the Gurjaani village primary school, found the training to be relevant and practical. “(We discussed) activities from the viewpoint of teachers as well as students, clearly showing how we should deliver the activity in our classrooms,” she said.

To help teachers like Maia put what they have learned into practice, trainers have observed classrooms across the country and provided constructive feedback. At more than 120 schools, they have also helped form “teacher learning circles” —small groups of teachers who share experiences and ideas for improving their students’ performance — to promote continual professional development.

These lesson plans provide new ways of organizing instruction...My students are more actively engaged and often ask for this type of instruction and learning materials.

Maia Turashvili, primary school teacher

The program also hosted a contest for reading materials developed by participating teachers, with the goal of encouraging teachers to develop supplemental reading materials. More than 100 ambitious teachers entered the contest. The winning book, “‘H’ the Hippo,” was written by a teacher in Abkhazia and promotes the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

Although the training program is still in its early stages, its impact is already being felt by students and teachers in classrooms across the country.

“When planning the instruction, I use the model lesson plans from the module manual,” said Maia, a few months after receiving her training. “These lesson plans provide new ways of organizing instruction…They also help me in developing materials for classroom use. My students are more actively engaged and often ask for this type of instruction and learning materials.”