In spring 2008 international organization, PH-International, made a proposal on legal education program to the Ministry of Education and Science and Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia funded by US International Bureau on Anti-Drug and Law Enforcement Cooperation.
The project was aimed at delivering of joint classes on 'legal culture' for 9th grade school students by properly trained police officers and teachers. The pilot program was launched in January 2009 and lasted for two months.
The MIA representatives along with other professionals from different fields were in the United States on a study visit. The group was introduced to the methods in the fight against violence applied in the US schools, involved organizations and etc. The result of the study visit was reflected in a legal educational program developed with the Ministry of Education which along with other facets envisaged active involvement of police officers in a study process.
In the framework of the program two manuals on 'Legal Culture' were prepared by the representatives of MIA and Ministry of Education one designed for school students and the other for teachers and law enforcers. The program was established as an overlapping program on the subject of civil education.
8 Topics for 10 Lessons are envisioned by the Manual
- 1. Student's attitude to the law;
- 2. A minor and a Law;
- 3. Conflict resolution;
- 4. Bad habits and protection from their perilous consequences;
- 5. Police history and importance;
- 6. Organized crime;
- 7. Indifference and cooperation;
- 8. Fair choice.
4 cities of Georgia took part in the pilot program
- 1 Tbilisi;
- 2 Rustavi;
- 3 Kutaisi;
- 4 Batumi
20 teachers from civil education and 16 young police officers took part in the project in its first stage.
96 school students participating in the program were polled under the random selection rule. All of them noted unanimously that the 'Legal Culture' program helped them enhance their knowledge on rights and obligations and advised their school mates to take the same course.
Only 16 % of those polled before the commencement of the project had negative attitude on the involvement of law enforcers in the study process. For 30% of the polled children law enforcer was identified to the punitive body. After the end of the program the prevalent stereotypes were broken giving way to the establishment of friendly relationship with slaw enforcers.
After the thorough assessment of the pilot program and interviews with the pupils, teachers, law enforcement officers, parents and school administration involved, the strengths and shortcomings of the program were identified and recommendations were elaborated.
In the beginning of the project it seemed quite hard to the teachers to conduct joint classes with policemen due to the lack of confidence, but gradually the teaching process showed the effectiveness of the joint efforts.
During the project implementation the pupils showed interest to different activities: imitated court proceedings, games, case discussions, finding alternative solutions. The range of questions to policemen reached beyond themes proposed by the program and touched upon daily activities of acting policemen.
It should be noted that many school directors, who have not been involved in the "legal education" program yet, have expressed their willingness to host the programs in theirs schools as well.