How do Georgia’s education policies affect migration?

The relationship between migration and education is multidimensional and reciprocal. While migration can have an impact on education, as shown in the previous section, education policies can also influence migration decisions and outcomes. Adjustments to the education curriculum and provision of educational programmes to fulfil labour market demand may reduce incentives to emigrate, for example. Provision of financial support for children's education could affect remittance patterns as the need to send remittances for educational purposes decreases. Education policies may also affect the decision and sustainability of return migration. The analysis below examines these links between education policy and migration for Georgia.

Georgia’s education programmes have little effect on emigration

In spite of serious efforts to reform and improve the system of general education of Georgia in the past decade, quality has been declining, partly because of the economic crisis and low expenditures on education (uNICEF, 2010). Georgia spent 2% of its total GDP on education in 2014, which is lower than the average expenditure of 4.9% for the Europe and Central Asia region (World Bank, 2016).

However, certain progress has been achieved in increasing access to primary education and minimising households' costs in sending children to school. The IPPMD household and community surveys explored a number of education programmes (Box 6.4), including two universal governmental programmes with particular importance in this respect: the distribution of school textbooks and distribution of personal computers. The distribution of school textbooks is a universal programme: all pupils in public schools should receive a complete set of textbooks free of charge at the beginning of the school year.

Box 6.4. Education programmes included in the Georgian IPPMD household and community surveys

Most of the programmes included in the Georgian IPPMD survey target primary and secondary students, and they are to a large extent universal. “In-kind distribution programmes” include the distribution of school text books, school supplies, computers for first grade students and school meal programmes (Figure 6.4). “Other types” of programmes include literacy campaigns, boarding school, home-based education and Georgian language courses. No cash-based programmes, such as scholarships or conditional cash transfer programmes were identified in Georgia.

The community survey collected complementary information about programmes available in the communities where the household survey was implemented.

Figure 6.4. Education policies explored in the Georgian surveys

Note: Apart from the education policies mentioned here, questions on vocational training programmes were also included in the survey, but are analysed in Chapter 4 on migration and the labour market.

All pupils in the first grade of public elementary schools should also receive laptop computers. Pupils in private schools are only eligible to receive computers if they come from households that receive social assistance.

The two most common education programmes affecting the households in the sample are distribution of textbooks and distribution of computers to first grade students. Both are countrywide programmes initiated by the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia.

Despite the universal nature of the programme, not all households with children of school age in the sample have benefited from free textbooks (Figure 6.5). The share of households with children in the age range 6-14 receiving free textbooks was 78%, and 65% among households with children of between 6 and 20 years old.5 Among households with children of elementary school age, 38% received a computer. A small share of households with children of school age benefited from other types of education programmes (7% received uniforms, 6% school supplies, and around 1% had benefited from boarding school or home-based education programmes).

Figure 6.5. Distribution of textbooks has the widest coverage

Share of households with children benefiting from an educational programme in the past 5 years (%)

Source: Authors’ own work based on IPPMD data.


As discussed above, education policy programmes could potentially affect migration and remittance decisions. However, the descriptive statistics (Figure 6.6) show little difference between households with migration experience

(emigrant, return migrant or remittance-receiving households) and those without when it comes to benefiting from the policy programmes listed in Figure 6.4. Regression analysis, controlling for individual and household characteristics, also confirms the lack of a link between migration and benefiting from these education programmes (not displayed here).

Figure 6.6. There is no clear link between migration experience and education


Share of households with children benefiting from an educational programme in the past 5 years (%),

by migration status

Note: The sample includes households with children aged 6-20 years old. Educational programmes refer to any of the programmes included in the IPPMD survey. Results that are statistically significant (using a chi-squared test) are indicated as follows: ***: 99%, **: 95%, *: 90%.

Source: Authors’ own work based on IPPMD data.


It is possible that cash-based programmes (such as scholarships or conditional cash programmes) could have a stronger impact on household migration decision making than universal distribution programmes.

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