Every year, on October 6, our school's self- government representatives interview the school principal. This year the interview with Mr. Mamuka was done by : Marita Datiashvili, Giorgi Khaindrava and Luka Zviadauri. The interview was about the the breaking news of the year - American programs.
Mr. Mamuka, how much will the American program help students who want to continue their education in the future?
As you know, we have applied the American program in our school this year. We had studied the programs of the top 20 schools in America and integrated them with the Georgian ones. In terms of external evaluation, we have introduced PSAT exams, which are applied only in our and QSI schools in Georgia. When children's papers are sent to America, along with the scores we will also receive the detailed recommendations about the skills the student will need to improve in order to pass the SAT exams successfully. A high score on the SAT is a prerequisite for a grant and further education at the best university. Georgian-American high school students have also enrolled in various educational institutions in the United States and Europe in recent years. For example, last year 17 of our students went abroad, but my goal is to make this process easier. The American Certificate will give more opportunities to Georgian students and pave for them the way to get to the best universities. The American Certificate does not mean that we will only have access to American universities. Accreditation is provided by an American organization that is recognized worldwide. This certificate will be valid in any country in the world, however, especially in America it will help students in obtaining funding and grants.
How accessible will the SAT exams be for your students?
First of all, the methodology of teaching English is very different. American program books are not ordinary course books. For example, one of the textbooks ELA - English Language Arts - contains texts extracted from scientific articles, research, thesis and fiction, which is radically different from the standard program. Theoretical issues may be the same in mathematics, but the modern Georgian education system, in my opinion, is more scientific, and American - one is practical or more applied. Georgian students may theoretically know what sine, cosine, etc are, but they may fail in using them practically. Time management is also very important in PSAT exams. In fact, only a minute should be spent on each question. It also takes time to move and mark the answer, therefore the student has to answer the question in 40-45 seconds.
How many years does it take to get used to the American program, which grade is it appropriate to start from, and how effective will it be in grades XI-XII, where students are practically graduating from school?
As you know, English Science and Social Studies have been taught in our school so far, and the English language program has always been enhanced. Our students have repeatedly taken first places in English at the National olympics, but the specifics of the PSAT test are completely different from theirs and it tests not only the student's English language level but their skills as well. So, of course, not everyone on PSAT will get a high score, though a certain number of students will still take good grades. I want these successful students to get their first American certificates this year. Their number will increase every year, in particular, if ten students pass this year, next year it will jump up to thirty , and then, I am sure, the whole graduating class will be able to pass them successfully.
Finally, what difficulties do you see in the process of implementing the program and what is your plan for solving them?
We naturally face difficulties. My main goal is to help students develop the ability to work with themselves. I always try to change the mentality of parents and children. I categorically oppose the private training of students. This program is designed so that the child only goes through the result with independent work. External "assistance", interference, on the contrary, can become a hindering factor. It is impossible to study any subject in one year and get proper knowledge, preparation, as we call it. It is impossible to meet American standards with such a method. Therefore, we have developed a whole course in which the key and most important components are analyzed in detail. The student should receive a proper education only in school. When a parent brings a child to us, it already helps him/ her enough. PSAT exams are not just math and English exams. This is a general skills assessor in young people. Although, at first glance, PSAT questions are simple, as I have already mentioned, the time allotted to them is very short, i.e. the student must possess a great deal of knowledge, technique and strategy around the issue in order to find the best way to solve the problem in the shortest time. Introducing the American program will not be an easy process, but with the efforts of the entire school administration, teachers and students, I believe we can meet all the challenges. As for you, I wish you to pass the PSAT exams as well as to win the TV show "Bookshelf". You reached the final last year, and this year you are obvious favorites.