Officials hope a government program to equip first-graders with netbooks marks the first step in an education revolution in Georgia. Critics caution, however, that for computers to have the desired impact on learning, teachers need to be keeping pace with technological changes.
Under the netbook program, which started a last year, the government is spending 32 million laris (about $18.9 million) to purchase 50,000 Georgian-made netbooks for first graders by the start of the 2011-12 academic year. The netbooks are not intended to replace standard textbooks, but augment them. Education Minister Dimitri Shashkin, citing unspecified surveys, contended that the netbooks enable children to learn “twice faster.”
“[W]hat we have seen, for example, is [that in] Georgian, English and mathematics, the children who went through the [netbook] program [completed it] in two months,” Shashkin told EurasiaNet.org. “Other children, who do not have the netbooks, need four months.”
To read the full story
Molly Corso is a freelance reporter based in Tbilisi.