Teacher – Guide to Europe

09.July.2019

On the 2nd-6th of June, a delegation of 10 school teachers from across Georgia visited Estonia to gain insight into the education system of one of the European Union Member States. The visit was part of project “Teacher – Guide to Europe” implemented by the Information Center on NATO and EU in the framework of which a competition is held annually for teachers from all over Georgia to create a project with their students about the EU and European values. On the 10th of May during the European Days , the 10 winning teachers were announced at a high-level seminar opened by the Prime Minister of Georgia, Mamuka Bakhtadze.

During the past 6 years the “Teacher – Guide to Europe” project has been running it has reached over 650 beneficiaries, resulted in more than 400 school projects and awarded 40 teachers with the opportunity to visit Estonia or Latvia. This year’s delegation was the third to be hosted by ECEAP in Estonia.

The study visit programme included visits to Laulasmaa School, Klooga School and Tallinna Ühisgümnaasium which all represent very different types of schools from small and regional to large and central. The teachers met with their Estonian colleagues who talked about teaching methods used in Estonia and with local students who described their experiences participating in various EU and Estonian (extra-)curricular education programmes. In addition to schools, the teachers also visited Tallinn University, renown for educating teachers, where they were given an excellent overview by Liis Raudsepp of the variety of reasons why Estonian students excel in PISA tests.

Mart Laanpere, the Senior Research Fellow in Educational Technology at Tallinn University explained how digitalisation and its growing impact should not be feared but can instead be used to make learning as well as teaching much more effective and efficient. An example of a digital tool was provided by HITSA’s Laura Vetik who introduced the EU’s eTwinning platform which enables schools to communicate, collaborate and develop projects in cooperation with schools in other EU Member States. EU’s neighbouring countries such as Georgia are also included and can participate through the eTwinning Plus platform. It was a fortunate coincidence that one of the official eTwinning Plus Ambassadors of Georgia, Nadia Dabrundashvili, was a member of the delegation and was able to share her experiences and knowledge with the EU platform. Insight into the current state of the Estonian education system from the perspective of educational workers was provided by the editor of Õpetajate Leht (Teachers’ Newspaper), Raivo Juurak, who gave an overview of what topics are currently of most interest to teachers in Estonia. The delegation was also able to learn about the future of Estonia’s education system from Ando Kiviberg, leader of Estonia’s Education and Research Strategy of 2020-2035, who explained how such a strategy is comprised and priorities chosen.

The study visit was organised by ECEAP in cooperation with the Information Center on NATO and EU and financed by the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Development Cooperation Fund.