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Resume: In 2010, the Government of Georgia decided to launch the unified education completion exams at public schools. Georgia’s National Assessment and Examination Centre was tasked to prepare the content of the tests and ensure administrative and technical (software) provisions as well as hold the exams. Schoolchildren took the exams in some of the subjects by the end of the 11th grade whilst they had to take the exams in the remaining subjects by the end of the 12th grade.

In accordance with the information of Georgia’s National Assessment and Examination Centre, 11,674 of the 47,669 applicants registered to take school graduation exams failed to surpass the minimum competence threshold (failed in at least one school subject) which constitutes 24.5% of the total amount. There is a certain inaccuracy in Mariam Jashi’s figures. As a result of the 2018 school graduation exams, 24.5% of students – and not 22% – failed to surpass the exam threshold which is 11,674 students of the total of 47,669. Therefore, Ms Jashi’s statement was assessed as mostly true.

Of note is that on 8 April 2019, the Parliament of Georgia adopted the draft law submitted by the Government of Georgia about the abolition of education completion exams. School graduation exams were subsequently abolished.

Analysis

The Chair of the Parliament of Georgia’s Education, Science and Culture Committee, Mariam Jashi, in her speech before the Parliament of Georgia, spoke about the results of the 2018 school graduation exams and stated: “I would like to confirm that in 2018, a rather large number of students failed to successfully pass school graduation exams. It was 22%; that is, 11,000 students out of 59,000.”

FactCheck took interest in the accuracy of the statement.

In accordance with the information of Georgia’s National Assessment and Examination Centre, 49,248 applicants registered for the 2018 school graduation exams. Of this number, 47,669 applicants did take an exam with 11,674 having failed to surpass the minimum competence threshold in at least one school subject which constitutes 24.5% of the total number of applicants.

In regard to the previous years, 47,063 of 48,434 registered applicants took an exam in 2017. Of this number, 12,803 applicants failed which constitutes nearly 27% of the total number of applicants. There were 13,941 applicants who took an exam again in at least one subject. Of this number, 5,562 applicants passed the second exam. Nearly 40% of the applicants who retook an exam still failed which amounted to approximately 18% of the total number of applicants. In 2016, 25.3% of applicants failed to pass the minimum threshold. This figure was 14.8% in 2015 (see detailed 2011-2017 data in Table 1).

Table 1: Number of Students who Registered for Graduation Exams, Took the Exams and Failed to Pass the Exam Threshold in 2011-2017

Year

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

Registered Students

46,490

41,483

41,947

38,140

44,482

47,084

48,434

Students who Took the Exam

41,482

40,545

37,945

37,189

43,525

45,688

47,063

Students who Failed to Surpass the Threshold

5,978

4,727

7,941

5,235

6,446

11,577

12,803

%

14.4%

11.7%

20.9%

14%

14.8%

25. 3%

27%

Source: National Assessment and Examination Centre

In regard to the introduction of school graduation exams and their eventual abolition, the Government of Georgia decided to launch the unified graduation exams at public schools in 2010. Georgia’s National Assessment and Examination Centre was tasked to prepare the content of the tests and ensure administrative and technical (software) provisions as well as hold the exams. Schoolchildren took exams in some of the subjects by the end of the 11thgrade whilst they had to take the exams in the remaining subjects by the end of the 12th grade.

On 6 February 2019, Mikheil Batiashvili, the new Minister of Education, had a concluding presentation for the public about a complex reform of the education system. The presentation officially announced that school graduation exams were abolished: “In the 2018-2019 academic year, graduation exams have been abolished for 11th and 12th graders. The new model of assessment seeks to gradually increase the autonomy of universities, a harmonisation of the national exam programme to the school programme and decrease education expenses for parents.” Prior to the presentation, Mr Batiashvili started talking about the abolition of school graduation exams although he planned this for 11th graders only whilst 12th graders would have to wait until 2020 to have their school graduation exams abolished.

In a few days after the announcement of this decision and after 12th graders from several schools protested this “unequal treatment,” the Prime Minister, Mamuka Bakhtadze, held a special briefing and announced that 12th graders would also not have to pass the 2019 school graduation exams as per his decision. In particular, Mr Bakhtadze stated: “I made a decision to abolish school graduation exams in this same year for both 11th and 12th graders.”

On 5 April 2019, the draft law was introduced for parliamentary vote but failed.[1] On 8 April 2019 the draft law was again submitted for voting[2] and the Law of Georgia on General Education was amended – school graduation exams were abolished (a detailed analysis in regard to abolition of the exams can be found here).



[1] 54 MPs in favour, none against with a quorum of 63. Parliamentary Majority MPs stated that the draft law had failed due to technical errors. In particular, because of bad acoustics, they could not hear and were not able to tell which draft law was submitted for voting.

[2] 80 MPs in favour, eight MPs against.


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