European Credit Transfer and Accumulations system was initially launched in 1989 as a pilot project in the ERASMUS program. The original goals of the scheme were to facilitate student mobility and bridge educational systems at a national and international level by the means of credit transfer. ECTS plays a key role in the creation of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) through the Bologna process.
On May 2005 Minister of Education and Sciences of Georgia signed the Bergen Communiqué and thus Georgia, post Soviet state, officially joined the Bologna Process like forty five other European countries and committed itself to becoming a constituent part of the European Higher Education Area by 2010 (EPPM Project Report,2005).
After 2005, Georgian students can apply for an exchange program and study abroad so that when they are back their courses will be recognized.
Once the students receives confirmation of acceptance from a receiving institution, he/she has to compose a learning agreement, which is a study contract among the student, sending and receiving institutions and must be signed by all three parties to become valid. The study modules which the students will take during his stay in the host institution will be specified in the learning agreement. The Learning Agreement and the transcript of records guarantee the transfer of credit for courses passed successfully by the exchange student. The relevant person in charge at the home university carries out the recognition after the student returns to his/her home institution. Among my respondents there were several exchange students who have not composed a learning agreement. In this case their credits could not be transferred.
Generally, credit recognition process looks like this: students bring the grades and syllabus from the host university; relevant people check them and recognize passed courses which have analogical content as the ones which are defined by the home university’s study program.
Actually, when I started writing this article, I wanted to investigate the problems, exchange students face in Georgia but surprisingly it appeared that drawbacks are not too many. The general problem about which Georgian students are complaining during the transferring process is that recognition and reviewing the material takes long time, there is no definite answer to the question, when will you know if credits were recognized or not. “You have to go and ask about it every day in the Quality Assurance Office” – says one of the former exchange student.
Another problem can be not one-to-one correspondence between credits. For example in Tbilisi State University, one subject equals 5 credits while in many universities abroad it is 3 credits. So Georgian University requires a student to take 2 subjects to get 6 credits that will be recognized as 5. So, one credit appears to be “lost”.
In conclusion, I think that European Credit Transfer and Accumulations system is quite successfully used in Georgia and is definitely very useful for Georgian students. Additionally, it is a great step forward in the long process towards European integration.
Author: Ana Koridze
Tbilisi State University