Since this imported and housebroken corona (also known as Covid 19) instantly changed our way of life, locked us in our homes and turned the active regime into passive one, the Georgian adult education centers, like many others, found themselves in a new reality, confronted with new challenges. Our readers already know that, there are eleven adult education centers in different regions of Georgia (Kartl-Katheri, Imereti, Guria and Samegrelo, Racha and Adjara, Keda and Samtskhe-Javakheti), which are spaces for education and innovations available for local population. Over the years, most of them work very hard and engage very interesting activities, offer different skills and practices for adults – youngsters as well as „oldsters“.
It is therefore impossible to close the doors of these centers, especially in this crisis situation. The idea of adult education itself means facing reality and finding a solution. This type of education helps you to find directions, when life does not offer you anything and you think you cannot change anything. So, our centers did not lag behind time and circumstances, they estimated their resources and the situation properly and switched to the distance work. The years of working and the effort of equipping the local population with computer skills came to fruition, so they were able to resume the training courses at full capacity. Most of the beneficiaries easily coped with technical difficulties and joined the Zoom software without a problem. Almost none of the current courses have stopped working, nor was the start of pre-planned new courses hindered, active as ever, with topics just as diverse, as in the standard mode of teaching.
For example: In adult education center of Koda (Director Madona Okropiridze), from March 19 started the distance training in law "Know Your Rights", In which 25 listeners were involved using the Zoom software, among them are the youngsters from Shaumiani Community Education Center as well; Currently the Training course "Procurement and New Regulations", the Youth Programme, Theoretical Enamel Course, two English learning groups, Psychologist Training-Counseling (for Koda-Shaumian Listeners), Small Business Course (2 Groups) and Home Care Course (Doctor Consultation) are actively in progress, conducted via Messenger for 20 Listeners. Elderly beneficiaries are consulted on cell phones, so no one is left unregarded.
From April 22 the course for using internet resources has been started online by the mentioned center with 15 listeners, using Zoom. The distance learning from home is actively conducted in other centers too. In Keda (Adjara region), from April 1st, theoretical course of driving license, English and computer office software course, Psychology course were launched; From mid-march handicraft and souvenir making and knitting courses have also moved to the online mode. There are also online meetings on financial education, public meetings of cultural and informational character. Overall, at this point, 85 listeners are involved in distance learning. As the director of the center David Ananidze said, they had not expected such an activity and demand on online courses and meetings. Nobody had a problem with getting involved in the process, no one expressed dissatisfaction, the only issue was, that the internet sometimes crashes...
Even though, corona virus couldn’t get into Katheti, farsighted Kakhetians still wanted to insure themselves, so the Leliani adult education center also moved on to distance learning. First they analyzed the situation with Kathetian thoughtfulness, then they had an active planning process until April 10, after which they started working in full strength.
The list of trainings includes: graphic design, English language for adults (grades I and II), photography, accounting, online meetings within the youth program and meetings with a psychologist who started with a messenger, then the beneficiaries were trained in using Zoom software and now they are working in this program.
As for the meetings of the Rural Development Program, which was conducted in field conditions and consultations and practical studies took place on the plots, on sites before, now they have been replaced by live meetings once a week, in which fruit cultivation topics are discussed. As the center’s director Nana Nersezashvili says, for local beneficiaries messenger is much more useful and very comfortable, but the center is also taking care for development of technical skills, so they can learn how to use zoom, in order to organize the distance learning process more effectively.
At Jvari adult education center (Samegrelo) the distance learning had started on 1st of April. As online platform they mainly use zoom and messenger too. Training takes place in the following courses and programs: Financial Education, Office Management, Computer skills, English Language Courses, Youth Programs, Public Meetings and Discussions and Psychologist Consultation, which is held 4 times a month for 42 beneficiaries.
As Etuna Chubinidze, trainer, psychologist and Master of Social work, told us, due to the crisis situation in Georgia and around the world, she selected the topics for the listeners, that would be interesting and help them to increase and strengthen their emotional intelligence: "With such distance meetings, we try to improve the mechanism of coping with stress, manage conflict situations, overcome aggression, allocate time to priority activities and stay mentally healthy. Me and my training participants are staying at home and will continue to be active for a successful future. ”
As the director of the center, Maia Chanturia said, participants are getting technical help with online connections because they still have problems in this regard. But still subtle Megrelians are easily coping with this, as with all the other things, and with such satisfaction at the same time, that they will not forget to express their gratitude to their center.
Distance learning finally reached the Racha region and posed a new challenge to Rachvelians, who switched into home regime with usual peacefulness – although they use only the messenger, but it is no problem at all… At Ambrolauri adult education center currently two English language courses are running via Zoom. Sometimes more than 15 students are involved in the lessons. In other courses, local adults are gaining plumbing skills, learning about old Rachvelian cuisine, Rachvelian music folklore, artistic woodworking, cutting and sewing, and even rug weaving, for which machine tools and yarns were distributed at their homes and now they work from home with the help of the online training.
The director of the center Nino Sokhadze says that all these training courses have a messenger group and for those who cannot enter during the live, the relevant courses of the video lessons are being uploaded to the messenger group.
So, in that way, all the centers are involved in distance learning and there is approximately the same picture everywhere. The important thing is, that the providers of adult education, organized by the Georgian Adult Education Network, properly met the challenges of time - even in this difficult reality did not betray the idea of adult education and their beneficiaries, they continue doing this job with the usual joy even remotely. Hopefully, in the meantime, Corona will leave us in peace and the centers will become noisy as before. They are the places not only for education but also for gathering and relationships; a place where people rejoice, where they feel dignified and realized, a place that promises a better future...