Presentation of Public Defender’s Special Report on Human Rights Education at Higher Education Level in Georgia
On December 16, 2021, the Public Defender of Georgia published a special report - “Human Rights Education at the Higher Education Level in Georgia". The report reflects the results of the monitoring of the quality of human rights education in undergraduate law programmes and provides relevant recommendations to address shortcomings.
The study showed that in most of the undergraduate programmes, basic human rights and freedoms are taught in only one compulsory subject. In addition, as a rule, the content of the subject is limited to the study of the rights reflected in the second chapter of the Constitution of Georgia, and in this process students are almost not required to analyze the rulings of the Constitutional Court. This context also showed that most programmes do not ensure human rights education in a comparative legal perspective, by using the practices of the Constitutional/Supreme Courts of the United States, Europe and other democratic states. It is also noteworthy that European human rights law is hardly taught within the compulsory course in any of the programmes.
The above challenges is further complicated by the fact that human rights education is largely based on Georgian and often outdated literature. This problem is especially aggravated by the shortage of lecturers with relevant competencies in regional universities.
The second area of challenge identified is the lack of practical components of human rights education. Naturally, such an approach leads to the teaching of human rights only in theory, without practice.
The study was carried out with financial assistance and institutional support by USAID/PROLoG, as well as with the involvement of the Caucasus Research Resource Center (CRRC). Legal expert Natia Khantadze was involved in the research process. The report is based on a qualitative survey conducted in 2020-2021. Individual, in-depth interviews and focus group discussions were conducted with a total of 125 respondents.
Data on human rights education were collected from undergraduate law programmes of 9 higher education institutions of Georgia, as a result of which, key findings and recommendations were developed.
We hope that this study will help higher education institutions to improve human rights education at the higher education level.