1 International Black Sea University (GEORGIA)
2 Georgian Technical University (GEORGIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2018 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Pages: 1077-1085
ISBN: 978-84-697-9480-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2018.0142
Conference name: 12th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2018
Location: Valencia, Spain
The paper is dedicated to multicultural higher education (HE), as in the ‘global village’ practically all countries are involved in undergraduate and graduate student exchange. While some societies (like Georgia) have initially been multiethnic, other societies (like Korea) used to be rather mono-ethnic and have changed only since the 1980s. Besides, due to globalization, international students are doing their studies and international teachers also are teaching around the globe. So the paper will deal with multicultural higher education in Georgia in two respects: to reflect the needs of the multicultural Georgian society as well as the needs of international students in Georgia and Georgian students abroad.

Although Georgia has been multicultural for centuries, it still experiences certain challenges in connection with multicultural education for its citizens. On the other hand, the increase, since 2005 when Georgia joined the Bologna process, of the number of international students coming to obtain their higher education in Georgia and the number of outgoing from Georgia exchanges have widened the issues of multicultural education for the country.

Irrespective the fact that internationalization of education and multicultural education offer numerous obvious advantages, it cannot be realized efficiently unless its challenges are studied and results of such studies are taken into consideration. The paper will analyze such challenges of multicultural HE as: language difficulties for both teachers and students, lack of knowledge of meta-linguistic (extra-linguistic, non-verbal) peculiarities of communication in various cultures, cultural biases that teachers and students may possess, culture shock in the process of studies and stay in the country, the quality of educational materials, syllabi, curricula, and teaching methods from the multicultural contents / attitudes viewpoint, student equality/discrimination, national curricula, syllabi and educational materials’ compatibility with international standards, lack of cultural self-awareness and tolerance, degree of openness and readiness to cooperate, patience and having a clear strategy / tactics for introducing step by step the multicultural education, differences between western and eastern educational cultures, the lack of teacher education in this direction, also the insufficiency of corresponding educational materials. It will deal with teachers’, institutions’ as well as educational authorities’ role in providing multicultural HE.

The goal of the paper is to find out the challenges of multicultural education in Georgia and to compare them to the global trends.Based on study results, some practical recommendations will be given.

A questionnaire survey was held to find out the most important challenges to multicultural higher education in Georgia. 115 students and 37 teacher from several state and private universities in the capital and regions assessed the given to them statements in a 5-point Likert scale, to find out how significant this or that challenge is for Georgian higher education institutions (HEIs). It was found that Georgian HEIs have challenges dealing both with the cultures within the country and in connection with student exchange. Certain recommendations for tackling these challenges are given in the paper.

The paper should be of interest to higher education administrators and lecturers.
Multicultural education, higher education, internationalization of education, globalization, student exchange, language difficulties, meta-linguistic knowledge.