Multilingual education reforms in Georgia in the post-Soviet period: Discourses of ethnic minority integration
A talk by Teresa Wigglesworth-Baker, University of Sheffield
This research examined how effective multilingual educational reforms have been in Georgia in helping ethnic minorities integrate into post-Soviet Georgian society. Georgia is home to a multitude of ethnic minorities, many of which have remained isolated from Georgian society due to their limited knowledge of Georgian, the state language. Empirical methods of analysis were used and the research was carried out during a fieldtrip in February and March 2015.
The research revealed that top-down multilingual education reform processes in Georgia at the current time have not been effective in bridging the language gap for ethnic minorities due to the low proficiency of the Georgian language among ethnic minority teachers. However, at the grass-roots level the research discovered that language shift (Fishman, 1991) is happening as a natural process externally to multilingual education processes among ethnic minorities in Georgia. This has been attributed to an increase in the motivation of ethnic minority populations to improve their economic opportunities within Georgian society though the use of social media and information technology.