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Home: Freunde Waldorf

Going through constant change

The Waldorf School in Tbilisi was founded in 1994 as an authorized school. At that time the city administration gave the property and a kindergarten building to the body, which founded the school, for use during an indefinite time period. In the following years the kindergarten building was renovated and other buildings were erected on the property with the help of the Friends of Waldorf Education, the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Software AG Foundation. As a result the school grew and developed to include all 12 grades. In 2010, the Georgian Ministry of Education awarded the school for its successful work with the prize for best school in Georgia.

Fridtjof Nansen once called Tbilisi the gateway to the Orient. Even today it is not quite clear towards which direction the city is heading, even though its cultural heritage is based on great European roots. But history seems to have never granted a period of rest to the Georgian people - and therefore the country finds itself regularly between development and destruction. Currently the nation is again on the look out for a new and own identity. Georgia reached its independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union, which brought many problems with it: a civil war, secessionist republics, major corruption, migration, and finally a peaceful revolution. Today, a relatively new government faces the successive problems, which are reflected in the social structure of society, and tries to find a direction allowing reconstruction.

The Waldorf School in Tbilisi finds itself in a similar situation of constant change since its foundation in 1994, regarding both legal and educational issues. It all began with two grades. Meanwhile, the school is fully developed offering two degrees. However, the educational establishing process is still not over yet - no, today, more than ever the struggle continues for a Georgian Waldorf curriculum in compliance with the new state requirements.

In most cases the social and economic conditions allow for only a minor financial contribution to the school budget. Even today, more than half of the parents and the entire teaching staff live below the poverty line. The educational system throughout the country is in poor condition due to the financial disrespect of teachers. The Waldorf school is also struggling with this situation and tries to do as much as possible through additional teacher training, regular seminars and active public relation.

In Georgia, the Waldorf school in Tbilisi, is the only school with an emphasis on a broad general education (not just exam preparation), which especially includes hand crafting and practical work. Another unique feature are the two internships in grade 9 and 10, during which usually construction work is being done in remote regions of the Georgian Caucasus.

Meanwhile, due to changes in the country’s educational system, the term "authorized school" has been abolished and the Waldorf School became public school No. 196. As a public school the Waldorf school then also had to meet all official requirements, such as accepting children aged five into their first grade, the introduction of computers in grade one and so on. In order not to lose what is considered the essence of a Waldorf School, the school felt compelled to transform into an independently operated 'Association of Waldorf School and Kindergarten Tbilisi'.

The Ministry of Education had already verbally agreed on said transformation, but when it came to granting the official license, it turned out that during the transition from communism to the current state administration, the school property was registered as owned by the city, without mentioning the initial guaranteed rights established during the 1990’s. And without owning its property a school cannot be registered as an independently operated facility.

Endless negotiations with the city, attempts to insist on the old agreement and the involvement of important people led to no result in favor of the school. It became clear: in order to continue, the property has to be purchased. If the school fails to buy the property, it loses its buildings and all previous investments will be in vain.

In order to ensure the future existence of the Waldorf School in Tbilisi, we sincerely ask you for your support.