Primary and lower-secondary education levels are compulsory and free for all at public schools. The State also guarantees free public upper-secondary, vocational and higher education.
The Ministry of Education and Science is responsible for paying all the expenses including tutoring, living conditions, food and medical services at public boarding schools. Education in Georgia is financed by the central government, by-passing local governments. Recurrent expenditure is allocated for per capita financing of the general education schools followed by subsidies and transfers to other education entities, (such as Teacher’s Professional Development Centre, Education Infrastructure Agency, National Examination Centre) to implement education programs. The country decentralised the management at all levels of education and adopted a “per-student” financing mechanism in general education. At the preschool education level, the management and financing have been decentralized to municipalities.
The school funding formula uses vouchers per capita base funding and divides schools into seven categories. Schools qualified for base funding if they had one to 169 students. A grade coefficient from Grades 1-8 and 9-12 is used for different voucher rates. It includes an additional coefficient for minority schools based on their linguistic needs and non-Georgian language schools was introduced (additional 0.12 coefficient). Funding for schools with special needs was introduced based on their calculated needs. For example, if a school has 1 to 7 special needs children, they are staffed with one special education teacher with the annual funding of GEL 4,200; schools with 7 to 14 students special needs students are entitled to have two special needs teachers with annual funding of 8,400 GEL; schools with 4 to 23 students - 3 teachers and GEL 12,600; More than 23 students - 4 teachers and GEL 16,800. The voucher system accounts for 67 percent of the current education expenditure.
Students do no pay tuition, textbook, PTA, matriculation, or assessment fees.
The new financing scheme of the TVET was launched in November, 2013. The new scheme differentiates vouchers based on the number of students taking into account costs of individual study programs and replacing the previous flat vouchers. These vouchers cover teacher salaries and learning materials.
State language program
State language program was launched in 2014 and is accessible to the ethnic minorities in Kvemo Kartli, Kakheti and SamtskheJavakheti (Akhalkalaki, Ninotsminda, Tsalka, Dmanisi, Bolnisi, Marneuli, Gardabani, Lambalo). This program is fully financed by the government.
Disadvantaged, children with behavioural problems and out of school children
The Ministry of Education and Science started the Second Chance Education for the disadvantaged, children with behavioural problems and out of school children in 2013. In 2014, the MoES took responsibility to finance and implement the programme consistently.
The Vocational Education Reform Strategy for 2013-2002 prioritizes an improved accessibility of vocational education and training for all interested individuals. It offers living allowances for vocational education students. The “Action Plan on internally displaced people (IDP) provision with minimum living allowance” includes the statute by which the Ministry of Marginalized will provide living allowance for vocational students with IDP status.
Students with disability:
An individual curriculum and/or additional training programme need be developed according to the National Curriculum for pupils with special educational needs whose education, social adaptation and integration in social life shall be ensured under that curriculum and/or programme. The State is responsible for financing such pupils.
Local municipalities are responsible for financing of early and preschool education establishments. In 2013, the Parliament of Georgia abolished parental fees to public early and preschool education establishments.
Free Textbooks and materials
Since 2010, the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia (MoES) has distributed free school textbooks and complementary materials to all students of all the public schools existing nationwide.
At the initiative of the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia, from January, 2013 within the scopes of “Access to General Education Program”, implementation of a new subprogram on “Access to Schools” has started. The given subprogram envisages provision of school transportation to public school children, who had to cover long distances to go to schools.
Scholarships for marginalised students in higher education:
The bulk of the financial support provided to students is in the form of merit-based state grants, full or partial. Only 6 -10 percent of the total student grant amount is allocated by means of need-based support for students from minority language schools, schools in remote areas, students from conflict zones, orphans and students with several siblings, students eligible for social assistance, and so on. The allocation of the need-based grants also has a merit component in it. The students who apply for need-based grants are ranked by their test scores within their quota group and the ones with the highest scores receive the grant.
Since 2011, the needs-based grants are awarded to vulnerable students from highland areas, ethnical minorities, migrants as well as student with disabilities.
Georgia uses vouchers to complement targeted cash assistance. Education’s vouchers using Proxy Means Test (PMT) registry. No targeted social assistance for socio-economically or otherwise disadvantaged students.