Raising EU Awareness in Ethnic Minority Areas – Following the One Example of a Jean Monnet Project „Triangle Effect of European Studies at Schools“
Keywords:EU, TEESS, ethnic minority, awareness, public schools, handbook for history and civic education teachers.
In the context of European Integration of Georgia, great importance is attached to the knowledge and expectations of the population, including the ethnic minorities, regarding Georgia’s integration in the EU and implementation of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement. According to the surveys taken by various organizations, the popular mood in Georgia is positive where the EU-integration is concerned. Although the interest towards the association is substantial it does not rely on the specifics and dynamics of the bilateral relations. Mostly, the information the people get from the TV is superficial.
One option to raise the popular awareness is to implement the Caucasus University Erasmus + Jean Monnet “Triangle Effect of European Studies at Schools” (TEESS) project and share the university knowledge of European Studies with public schools. The project aims at raising awareness of the European integration, the Association Agreement and DCFTA in the regions densely populated by the IDPs, namely, the school children, teachers and their families.
The workshops staged in the Georgian, Russian, Armenian and Azeri public schools in the capital Tbilisi and the towns of Akhaltsikhe and Marneuli partly attended by the IDPs made the scarcity of the information and the interest evident. The discussions showed that most of them realized the importance of the EU support to Georgia. However, some of them were still skeptical. We suggest a different planning of the information campaign targeted at sharing the European values and generally the EU-Georgia relations, on the one hand and better instruction in the Georgian language in the regions populated with the ethnic minorities. The outcome of the project made it clear that supply of more comprehensive information on Europe at the history and civic education lessons to the school children could be a good option. That is what “The European Association Process in Georgia”, a quadri-lingual textbook published within the frameworks of the Caucasus University “Erasmus +” Jean Monnet project funded by the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia is targeted at. We suppose stepping up the project activities by adding elements of informal education and last but not the least, closer involvement of public agencies and institutions.
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