Under President Mikheil Saakashvli, schools in Georgia made progress in teaching English and cracking down on bribery. Now, following Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili’s rise to power, the Georgian government is taking on a new challenge in reforming the education system – overhauling the state-run school security service known as the “mandaturebi.”
The mandaturebi, or monitors, started policing Georgian public schools in 2010, operating as a branch of the Ministry of Education and Science. More than just unformed hall monitors, members of the service were initially portrayed as a quick fix to the pervasive problem of violence in schools; in particular, knife fights and aggressive bullying. But some critics raised concerns that the monitoring service had another purpose – to help the powerful Interior Ministry keep tabs on school administrators and teachers in an effort to ensure that the educational system promoted the interests of incumbent authorities.
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Molly Corso is a freelance journalist who also works as editor of Investor.ge, a monthly publication by the American Chamber of Commerce in Georgia.